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Girl Scouts troop disband after transgender girl included

Bobby Montoya, a 7-year-old transgender girl from Denver, Colorado was initially rejected by a local Girl Scouts troop.

By: Shannon Clarke

Feature image via ABCNews.com. 

A decision by the Girl Scouts of Colorado to overturn a local troop’s rejection of a 7-year-old transgender girl has infuriated three scout leaders so much so that they’ve resigned.

The troop leaders are part of the Northlake Christian School in Covington, Louisiana, according to Washington-based The Christian Post. Upon hearing that the Girl Scouts of Colorado would admit Bobby Montoya this fall into a local troop, they disbanded in protest.

“This goes against what we [Northlake Christian School] believe, Susan Bryant-Snure, one of the troop leaders who stepped down and took her three daughters with her, told Nashville-based Baptist Press.

Bryant-Snure added that the inclusion of Bobby was “extremely confusing” and an “almost dangerous situation” for children.

In October, Bobby’s mother, Felisha Archuleta, was told her son couldn’t join the local chapter because he had “boy parts.”

“No one would know he’s a boy unless they pulled his pants down,” Archuleta told ABC News.

Though she admits that she sometimes has difficulty referring to Bobby as “she,” she has raised her son as a girl. Since the age of two, Bobby has felt he was really a girl.

The Girl Scouts of Colorado released an official statement through the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation Oct. 26 supporting Bobby’s admittance.

“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.”

They also told Archuleta that the troop leader who rejected her son would receive “sensitivity classes.”

For those familiar with the organization’s history, the initial decision to reject Bobby should have been more shocking than news of his membership. The Girl Scouts, which celebrates its 100th anniversary in March, has a strict policy of inclusion.

When Juliette “Daisy” Gordon Low founded the group in Savannah, Georgia, she wanted to get girls out of the home and equip them with tools for professional life.

As the Scouts expanded (today 10 million girls and adults in 145 countries are part of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts) so did the diversity of the group.

In its earliest years, a troop for young women with physical disabilities was founded as well as for Native American Girl Scouts and Mexican American Girl Scouts. The Girl Scouts were active in breaking down barriers well before the height of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s.

So it’s not far beyond the scope of belief that Bobby would be welcomed by the organization, despite the thinly veiled prejudices of parents.

Concerned parents have certainly had their hands full this year, protecting their children from gender bending. The Florida Family Association launched an email campaign targeting advertisers to boycott Teen Nick and MTV, which air Degrassi: The Next Generation, in August after a female-to-male transgender character Adam Torres (played by Toronto-born actress Jordon Todosey) was introduced.

When Chaz Bono (born Chastity to Sonny and Cher), announced he would be appearing as a contestant on Dancing With the Stars, psychiatrist Dr. Keith Ablow advised parents not to let their children watch the show. Ablow said children might begin questioning their own gender identity watching a transsexual contestant on television. [Note: Transgender is a broad term that describes all people who feel that their biological sex does not correspond to their gender identity, and/or whose appearance and behaviours do not match roles expected of their sex. Transsexuals are people who intend to live as a sex other than their sex at birth. Many transsexuals use hormone treatments, sex reassignment surgery, or both.]

“It would be wrong to think gender dysorphia [feeling like you are trapped in the body of the wrong sex] cannot be kindled by celebrating those who have undergone sexual reassignment surgery,” he wrote on FoxNews.com.

Several other psychiatrists have since refuted this claim.

The Girl Scouts of Colorado have not only stuck by their decision (with the support of Girl Guides of Canada) they are also adjusting their program to meet the needs of any future transgender children.

The three scout leaders who stepped down, in the meantime, are considering joining the American Heritage Girls, organized in 1995 after the Girl Scouts dropped mentions of “God” in their pledge.

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