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The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Transgendered girl scout met with opposition

“There are as many different ways to be a girl, as there are girls–differences related to race, class, religion, national origin, language, disability and so on,” said Cole Thaler, Lambda Legal’s former Transgender Rights Attorney. “Having a transgender history or not is just another example of this wonderful variation and diversity.”

The recent choice of a Colorado Girl Scouts troop to allow seven-year-old Bobby Montoya, a transgender girl, into the troop was a major step towards transgender equality. Historically, transgender people have been treated as dangerous and deceptive.

In the words of John St. Louis, Guilford student and self-identifying gender-queer femme, the Trans community has been looked upon as “a scourge that has been lurking in the dark.” Because of this stereotype, there are people who continue to antagonize this newly trans-friendly Girl Scout troop by boycotting the famous Girl Scout cookies.

“(This plays into) the same narrative that seeks to leave trans-people isolated,” said St. Louis.

Those who have been boycotting Girl Scout cookies include a teen Girl Scout known publicly only as “Taylor,” who is involved with a group known as Honest Girl Scouts. She recently posted a transphobic video on YouTube illustrating the reasons why she believes the transgender community should be unwelcome in the Girl Scouts, an “all-girls” organization.

Taylor believes that it is deceitful not to notify parents and other scouts of a transgender individual in the troop.

“(Girl Scouts) don’t notify parents about what each child’s genitals look like,” Thaler notes.

The idea that it should be necessary to have the appearance of seven-year-olds genitals be known to her peers and the parents of her peers is both unreasonable and incredibly invasive. All individuals, including Miss Montoya, deserve the right to privacy.

Taylor also defends her desire for a cisgender-only Girl Scouts organization  —  meaning exclusive to those whose gender and birth sex match — by claiming that a cisgender girl would be unable to identify with a transgender girl.

“There’s totally going to be real differences, but there are also real differences between cisgender girls, there are real differences between different kinds of trans-girls.” explains St. Louis. “The notion (of) the (model) cis-woman identity and the (model) trans-woman identity and that they’re opposing and unrelatable is a joke.”

In my experience, just because someone else has the same sexual organs as me does not mean that I will be able to relate to them. I have had more close female-bodied friends than male-bodied.

Relating to people is certainly not dependent upon what is in one’s pants.

One cannot attend a Girl Scout meeting and expect each individual in the room to be able to perfectly relate to one another.

It is unfortunate that seven-year-old Montoya has already met opposition in the form of transphobia and gender normative exclusion. However, this Colorado Girl Scout troop’s decision and Bobby’s story gives us confidence that we are moving in the right direction, promoting equality among both transgender and cisgender individuals.

I encourage other Girl Scout troops —and even Boy Scout troops — to engage in the global conversation on transgender inclusion and rights, so that young people nationwide may find acceptance among individuals of the same gender, regardless of sex. I have faith that this event will encourage more change and allow people like Bobby across the nation and the world.

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    EmersonMar 14, 2012 at 3:14 pm

    Why is it that those who cry loudest for arleotnce, are often the least tolerant? @William I am prepared to acknowledge other people’s values, but does that mean I must accept them as fully valid and implement them into my own life and the teaching of my family or into the other programs which are used to raise youth? Of course not.@Helena Andersson You are right, the core of the Scouting movement was, is and will always be about character attributes, such as friendship, kindness, and good citizenship. It boils down to preparing people for a moral and ethical life and to face the challenges and decisions that will be a part of that life. Many believe that the GLBTQ life is neither moral, nor ethical. That is a deviant (as in straying from the norm) behavior in society and that it panders to a self-indulgent lifestyle.@Bjf6rn -Your comment, about one of your leader having a younger girlfriend which ignites fear in many parents minds. You do not say how young she is, which leaves open the potential of predatory behavior on the part of adults on children. The fear of a continued change in sexual standards begs the question, when will it stop? A strong supporter of the GLBTQ community, their publications and events is NAMBLA, the North American Man-Boy Love Association, which advocates for the removal of age laws between sexual partners, the legalization of pedaphilia. This would turn Scouting into a dating service for older men and women seeking vulnerable youth.@Sansa The majority of the US citizens are indeed religious, and mostly Christian, while much of Europe is clearly in a post-Christian era. I hope that does not mean that Europe is in a post-ethical era, a post-value era. @all I will stand in support of the those Scouting organizations who have chosen to stand true to their ethical standards. Many who have abandoned them have seen significant declines in membership as parents choose other organizations to be a part of raising their youth. The Scouts of Canada is a very clear example of that.I hope that you have found me Scout-like in my responses: courteous, kind, friendly. I hope also that we will all be tolerant enough to understand that others hold values and understanding different than our own, both in and out of Scouting.Have a great Jamboree. Maybe we’ll see you in West Virginia, USA in 2019.