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Sunday, February 5, 2012

Tempest in a cookie box

Because a seven year old transgender child tried to be involved in a Girl Scout troop in Colorado, a national campaign has been created to urge us to not to buy any cookies this year, and Girl Scouts themselves to not sell them.

Yes, really:
Three Girl Scout troops in Louisiana won't be hawking Thin Mints this year. They've disbanded in protest after the Girl Scouts of Colorado accepted seven-year-old transgender child Bobby Montoya as a member. Montoya was born a boy but has considered herself a girl since she was two years old, says her mom Felisha Archuleta. In October, Archuleta took her daughter to speak with a Denver troop leader about signing up, and took her daughter away crying after the Scout leader referred to the child as "it" and said "Everyone will know he's a boy." Three weeks later, the statewide Girl Scouts body issued a statement saying, "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." When they heard about this reversal, three moms and troop leaders in St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana decided to dissolve their troops and leave Girl Scouts. 
Now, 95 years after the organization first starting selling cookies, its signature product has once again become a political pawn. Right-wing groups and some conservative parents and scouts have posted to a site called Honest Girl Scouts, YouTube, and Facebook pages—including one called "Make Girl Scouts Clean Again"—urging Girl Scouts everywhere to go on strike from selling cookies, and their parents to stop buying them. They want Girl Scouts USA to officially bans [sic] transgender children from membership, and kick out any known transgender scouts "hiding" in the troops.
Because a transgender kid is dirty. Dishonest. A scourge, hiding in the ranks to prey on legitimately female members of the troop. A parasite on their virtue, apparently. A seven year old. What's the national Girl Scout policy on such matters?
So far, the national Girl Scouts USA has made no official statement about Bobby Montoya's case or what happened in Louisiana. . . Andrea Bastiani Archibald, a development psychologist with Girl Scouts USA, says it's a case-by-case decision. "It depends on the age of the child and other questions: Are they being recognized everywhere (as girls)? Are there policies in place at that child's school? Are they attending a girl's bathroom?" She reiterated that acceptance of transgender girls is not formal Girl Scouts policy, and that the organization takes a position of nondiscrimination rather than radical inclusion. So for all intents and purposes, decisions on who gets included or excluded play out at a local level.
And yet protest against transgender children being involved apparently is not-- it's a national thing. Three troops several states away from Bobby Montoya, who almost certainly have never met her and would never have been aware of her existence if not for the statement from Girl Scouts of Colorado, felt so strongly against her inclusion that they actually disbanded. No more selling cookies, no more earning badges, no more fun camping trips because some kid a thousand miles away who was born male but determined at age two that she was a girl was accepted into a Girl Scout troop. What are they afraid of, exactly? Could there possibly be anyone in this scenario with more at stake than Bobby herself? I first learned of this story from Radley Balko's blog, where he bemoans making a small child the object of ridicule in the name of a culture war, and sighs
It’s a story about why in the world you’d decide to wage a national campaign attacking the Girl Scouts over their decision to accept a kid who think she’s the opposite sex . . . who is seven-years-old. 
I mean, even if she’s just going through a phase. Even if the mother should have recognized that. Even if you think it was wrong of the Girl Scouts in that particular part of the country to accept her as such. So what? What is the point of making a big deal out of this? If, 10 years from now, the kid decides he really was boy all along, does it matter? Has it done any harm to you? Hell, even if your kid was in the same troop — which is untrue of 99.999999 % of the people making a huge deal out of this — do you really think this kid is going to disguise his/her sex so he/she can take advantage of your daughter? Again, she’s seven years old.
Exactly. I have nothing to add to that. Except this--

1 comment:

  1. Personally, I think the Girl Scouts did the right thing here in including this little girl, and if I lived in the US I'd be inclined to buy ALL THE COOKIES. (You know, grocery budget notwithstanding)

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