After news broke of the 7-year-old transgender child who wasn’t allowed to join Girl Scouts, my heart sank a little. You see, I was a Girl Scout for seven years. Denver’s Bobby Montoya has made national headlines because of a Girl Scout leader’s refusal to let him join because he had, “boy parts.”Oh, right. Boy parts. Despite the existence of “boy parts,” Montoya’s mother says that her child has been identifying as a girl since around the age of two.
“Bobby identifies as a girl, and he’s a boy,” [Bobby’s mother] Felisha Archuleta told KUSA-TV. “He’s been doing this since he was about 2 years old. He’s loved girl stuff, so we just let him dress how he wants, as long as he’s happy.”
You know, Felisha, I like you. I like you a lot.
Unfortunately, not everyone is as accepting as Felisha. When Bobby went to join Girl Scouts, a local troop leader freaked out and made the child cry, according to news reports.
“I really got upset because my grandson is himself. We’ve all accepted it,” Rose Archuleta told The Daily News. “We’ve all accepted Bobby as he is, and for this lady to talk to him that way, it was just awful. This lady shouldn’t be working with kids.”
You know, I’m really starting to like this family.
The good news is that the Girl Scouts issued a statement saying that they accept all children who identify as girls.
“Girl Scouts is an inclusive organization and we accept all girls in Kindergarten through 12th grade as members. If a child identifies as a girl and the child’s family presents her as a girl, Girl Scouts of Colorado welcomes her as a Girl Scout.”
Kudos to the Girl Scouts for allowing kids to have the dignity and respect they deserve regarding their gender identity. No doubt, it will take time for that message to trickle down to every scout leader. And in every organization there are a few bad apples. But it is very encouraging to me that the Girls Scouts, which is an organization that provides leadership and socialization skills to thousands of girls, is stepping out front with a message that inclusion and acceptance are, indeed, the golden rule.
And it makes me happy that kids like Bobby can be accepted into a group that — with the right troop leaders — can provide amazing experiences. I know that not everyone enjoys or has a good experience in Girl Scouts. But I was lucky enough to have some amazing troop leaders who offered me guidance, encouragement, training in valuable life skills, and even a safe space away from violence and abuse in my family life. Without Girl Scouts I would never have gone camping as a kid. I wouldn’t have developed certain skills as swiftly and as early as I did. Without one particular troop leader, I might not have ever heard the message, “Why do things need to be perfect? What if something amazing happens when it’s un-perfect?” And I definitely would not have had a safe haven — if even for a few hours a week — from a scary home life. Not to mention all those cookies.
Thanks for still rocking, Girl Scouts!