In Colorado, a seven-year-old transgendered girl named Bobby Montoya was not allowed to join her local Girl Scouts troop because she is biologically a male. In response, the organization issued a statement saying that the troop in question was “unaware” that Girls Scouts accepts 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.”
The little girl has yet hear anything though regarding her acceptance, and Bobby’s mother wants more than a uniform at this point — she also expects an apology. She told ABC that the troop humiliated her daughter and that she “dissolved into tears” after hearing a heated exchange between her mother and the troop leader:
said the troop leader also asked her, “What do you call it, a boy or a girl?” referring to Bobby. “I told her, ‘Excuse me?’ Then she fixed it and said, ‘Bobby. You can see that’s a boy’s name, and everyone will know he’s a boy.’”
The same troop leader said that Bobby could not join because she has “boy parts,” something that is of course delightful to hear as a young child with gender dysphoria. Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, says that moving forward, confrontations like these should be handled with the child’s well-being in mind:
“These cases should be about the children,” said Keisling. “The Girl Scout leader kept saying the ‘boy’s parts,’ and that is not the Girl Scout leader’s business and, frankly, not something a Girl Scout leader should have been talking about to a parent or anyone else.
“One of the things Girls Scouts learn is inclusivity and civility, and I think they smartly realized that they can’t be uncivil or exclusionary.”
As part of the Girls Scouts’ effort to not be “exclusionary,” the organization told Bobby’s mother that the troop leader who rejected her daughter will be receiving sensitivity classes. In their statement, they also added that their training programs will be altered to support all girls.
It’s pleasing to see that Girl Scouts took this opportunity to not only clarify their standards for acceptance, but also to educate future employees about transgendered children. The marriage of those two initiatives confirms that they are indeed a forward-thinking organization dedicated to more than just selling cookies.