A few years back I used to volunteer for The Pacific Center, an LGBT community center in Berkeley, California. I was on a speaking bureau with a group of other youth who would go to schools and organizations to speak out against homophobia and promote "tolerance." There was this game we would play, gender gumby, that demonstrates the differences in sexuality and gender expression. What we would figure out as a group is that gender identity and sexuality is different from one person to the next. No one person is the same and most don’t fall into one set category. For example, just because a girl might prefer to wear overalls instead of dresses, that has nothing to do with who she is interested in romantically.
I wonder how productive gender assignment is in actuality? It’s human nature to want to put someone in a box to better identify them, but really, what’s the point in all of that? Isn’t it true that for the most part that stuff is learned anyway? If my parents had given me a race car track instead of a doll house as a kid, would I have become less of a woman than I am now? These days children are beginning to challenge gender norms at an earlier age than ever before. Over the last year or so we’ve seen multiple news stories about this subject. Remember the princess boy, anyone? Now a similar story
is grabbing attention and hopefully causing people to question societal gender norms. Denver, Colorado mother Felisha Archuleta made waves after being turned away for trying to sign her son Bobby Montoya up for the Girls Scouts instead of the Boy Scouts.
The seven-year-old, who already prefers clothing traditionally made for females, was turned away by a scout leader for having “boy parts.” Archuleta believes her child was born in the wrong body and chooses to support little Bobby. She told ABC News, “ I thought Bobby would grow out of it. He just liked girl stuff. When he was 4 or 5, he asked me, ‘Why didn’t you make me a girl?’” According to Archuleta, not only was Bobby turned away from being a girl scout, but the troop leader also insensitively referred to Bobby as “it.”
Since the Girls Scouts initial rejection it seems the organization is changing their tune about allowing Bobby to become a member. The Girl Scouts released a statement regarding their policy on transgender children: “Girls Scouts is an inclusive organization and we accept all girls in kindergarten through 12th grade. If a child identifies as a girl and the child's family presents her as a girl, Girl Scouts of Colorado welcome her as a Girl Scout.” The scout leader who turned Bobby away will reportedly receive sensitivity training.
Despite Girl Scouts of Colorado’s statement, Archuleta and Bobby have yet to receive an apology or a formal invitation to join. Fortunately, the Girl Scouts incident hasn’t gotten Bobby down. Since being rejected from the troop a few weeks ago Bobby has started to identify as a girl in public, declaring, “They can’t be mean to me. I’m a human being just like everyone else.” Indeed Bobby, indeed.
The opinions expressed on the BUST blog are those of the authors themselves and do not necessarily reflect the position of BUST Magazine or its staff.