Should a transgender 7-year old boy, who acts and thinks like a girl, be allowed to participate in a chapter of the Girl Scouts? This controversy is shaking things up in a big way in Girl Scout troops throughout the U.S.
Three Girl Scout troops based at a Christian school in Louisiana have disbanded to protest of a new policy of inclusion for transgender youngsters.
The Christian Post reports that the controversy erupted last month when a Denver mother, Felicia Archuleta attempted to get her 7-year-old son, Bobby Montoya, admitted into a local Girl Scout troop. She told the Scout leader that her son actually lived like a little girl. But when the local troop leader refused, saying Bobby wouldn’t be allowed to join because he had “boy parts” Archuleta went straight to the leadership of the Colorado Girl Scouts chapter. After that, she called a press conference to protest.
The New York Daily News reports that this caused the Colorado Girl Scout chapter to review that particular troop’s decision and emphasize its tradition of inclusion. The vice-president of Communication for Girl Scouts of Colorado, Rachelle Trujillo, announced that the organization has a policy of respecting the rights and decisions of families. And if a parent brought a child to a meeting, and the child was recognized by the community as their daughter, then the Girl Scouts accepts that. She said,
“We don’t require proof of gender.”
“Girls Scouts of the USA is really giving Girl Scout councils around the country the flexibility to handle their approach [by] working in their own communities and when you’re talking about a transgender girl anywhere, it is handled on a case by case basis.”
But Bobby’s mother told the chapter that she would have to think things over and call them back regarding her son joining up. And so far, she has not been in touch since that time. Archuleta may never enroll her son in the Colorado troop, but the Louisiana troop leaders were furious over the chapter’s ruling.
And now, the women in Lacombe, La. resigned as leaders from Northlake Christian School and are dismantling their troops over the Girl Scouts’ policy. Susan Bryant-Snure is one leader who resigned. She has three daughters among the 25 girls who had been active scouts there. She told the Baptist Press that the Girl Scouts’ action is “extremely confusing and an “almost dangerous situation for children”. She added,
“This goes against what we (Northlake Christian School) believe.”
The resigned troop leaders are now looking into teaming up instead with American Heritage Girls, a nonprofit organization which says it is,
“Dedicated to the mission of building women of integrity through service to God, family, community and country. The organization offers badge programs, service projects, girl leadership opportunities and outdoor experiences to its members.”
American Heritage was formed in 1995, following the Girl Scouts’ decision to allow scouts to substitute another word or phrase for “God” in their promise. Its founder, Patti Garibay says her group has not dealt with any transgender issues and that they only accept girls ages five to 18. She says the issue with Girl Scouts is definitely a concern parents need to know about.
Jeff Johnston is a social issues analyst with Focus on the Family. He specializes in homosexuality and sexuality and says the Girl Scouts’ practice of admitting transgendered children has implications for the other girls in the troop. He warns it can ultimately lead to gender confusion. And he says already some parents have contacted him with concerns over Girl Scout camping trips with boys pretending to be girls.