Why Are Conservatives So Afraid of Trans Girl Scouts?

Posted on May 18, 2015 | 6 comments

“Sexual anarchy.”

A “slap in the face to Christian parents.”

A “dangerous policy.”

That’s what some conservatives are calling the Girls Scouts acceptance of trans girls into the organization.

I have to admit that I’m a bit confused by the reaction to the policy update posted on the Girls Scouts blog this week, because it’s pretty much been in place since 2011.

“If a girl is recognized by her family, school and community as a girl and lives culturally as a girl, Girl Scouts is an organization that can serve her in a setting that is both emotionally and physically safe. Inclusion of transgender girls is handled at a council level on a case by case basis, with the welfare and best interests of all members as a top priority.”

new GS brownies

Let’s look at each of the conservative quotes in turn…

AFA President Tim Wildmon interviewed Concerned Women for America’s Penny Nance on the American Family Radio program “Today’s Issues.” (Note that comments are turned off on the video. Were they afraid of receiving more negative responses to their conversation than supportive ones?)

Wildmon asked about the Girl Scouts’ “venture into sexual anarchy.” It seems the first issue here is that they don’t understand that gender identity has nothing — zero, zip, zilch, nada — to do with sex. Gender identity is how a person views themselves inside, in their heart and mind. Body parts don’t come into play at all. Attraction to others doesn’t come into play. It’s simply a person’s sense of self.

Pence responded to questions saying that the policy is “just one more slap in the face to Christian parents.” Well, I’m sorry, but WE are Christian parents and our daughter is a Girl Scout. There was no face-slapping here. What we have is acceptance from an organization that has lead to immense happiness in our child.

I’m also confused how a secular organization that promotes values found in most religions can be a problem for Christians. The Girls Scouts do encourage girls to learn more about their personal faiths and earn recognition for the efforts, but no one religion is promoted. And since many Christian denominations are completely accepting of trans identities, I fail to see how acceptance in a secular setting hurts anyone except those who CHOOSE to follow a denomination that sees being trans as a choice rather than as the way a person is born. (It isn’t a choice, by the way.)

And finally, we get to the last quote. The American Family Association has a petition urging the Girl Scouts to reverse the policy of acceptance, which is calls a “dangerous policy.”

I’m sorry, but dangerous to whom exactly?

The petition says “Boys in skirts, boys in make-up and boys in tents will become a part of the program. This change will put young innocent girls at risk. Adults are willing to experiment on our kids – both the boys who are confused and the girls who will wonder why a boy in a dress is in the bathroom with them.”

Ahhhh, there it is! Penises are dangerous. Anyone in possession of a penis is a predator. (Although I find it interesting that these conservatives have no problem with adult men — whom I’m pretty sure possess penises — having leadership roles in the organization.)

Let me tell you a story. During one of our Girl Scout meetings, the girls ran down the hall to the bathrooms, as they always do, in pairs for safety. As my daughter was using the restroom, sitting down as girls do, the other girl crawled under the stall wall to try to tickle her legs.

The. Other. Girl.

My daughter was terrified. She is not in the bathroom playing games. She isn’t in the bathroom peeping in stalls or trying to expose herself. She is sitting down, hands in her lap with a wad of tissue covering herself so that if anyone were to look in, they wouldn’t see her private parts.

The other girl thought it was funny to crawl into the stalls. Not my girl. Where is the danger again?

So if these aren’t the real issues at play, just what is it that scares some conservative commentators about the policy?

Two things come to mind.

First, they are worried that their precious innocent daughters will be exposed to a “lifestyle” that they don’t accept. They are worried that their daughters will be taught about being transgender and possibly start to question themselves. That was the issue one parent brought up recently when the book “I Am Jazz” was read in an elementary class. A child had questions later, and since the parent didn’t know how to answer them and felt uncomfortable with the subject, the questions were interpreted as the child being confused about being transgender himself. (It’s really an easy conversation to have, by the way. “So, you are wondering if you are trans, too? Do you feel like a girl? No? Ok, then you aren’t.”)

But guess what, even though the girls in my daughter’s troop made a joke about earning a Transgender Badge for learning what being trans is when she and a visiting friend outed themselves as trans during a meeting recently, there isn’t a Transgender Badge. Check for yourself here. See? No Transgender Badge.

What I think they are really worried about is that trans girls are already in the Girls Scouts and no one knows who they are. That terrifies them. They want to be able to label trans girls as “boys in skirts” who will confuse the other girls. But when kids transition, no one can tell. Before puberty, kids pretty much look the same. Only hair and clothes help us differentiate males from females. They are scared witless that they can’t go to a Girl Scout troop and point a finger at the “dangerous” kid.

After my daughter and her friend outed themselves, I met with our area leadership. On the off chance that any other parent complained (they didn’t), they wanted me to know that my daughter was absolutely welcome and supported. They also said that they are aware of at least a dozen other trans girls in our region, and there are probably more because not all parents tell the council about their girls’ trans status. Do a little math and you can figure out that there are hundreds, if not thousands, of trans girls in scouts all across the country. But we don’t hear news reports about them. We don’t see stories of “innocent girls” being assaulted by a “boy in a skirt” in bathrooms and tents.

Trans girls are participating in Girl Scouts without any problems. They are participating because they are girls. Period. And everyone sees them as nothing more than girls. Period. That is at the root of these conservatives fears. Despite all of their hemming and hawing and predictions of doom, nothing bad is happening.

So thank you, Girl Scouts, for providing my daughter and others like her a safe space to grow, learn, make new friends, and become empowered as the girls that they are.

6 Comments

  1. Every concern conservatives have about transgender Girl Scouts is mirrored by political action happening around transgender adults. The specter of transgender people using public restrooms according to the gender they live by has launched disturbing bathroom bills in states like Florida and Nevada, where such bill were defeated last month.

  2. I myself am Transgender and I have to say that these kids are so very brave and I have the utmost respect for their parents. I hope you all realize that what you are doing is allowing your child to grow up in a world without the sting of dysphoria that I and so many “Late Transitioners” have felt. Reading this gives me hope. Thank You

  3. Excellent rebuttal to absolute nonsense coming from parents who are ignorant of the facts. I am a transgender female but prefer to be called just “a female”. I myself know how it feels and I possess the facts on what is true and false when determining transgender issues. It’s funny how parents of non-transgender kids think they know the inner workings of girls like these kids and myself. They don’t have a clue and I myself am glad of parents like this that truly know how we feel!!!! I myself have a mother that understands who I truly am, but if I didn’t, this parent here would be the PERFECT mother. Understanding, compassion and intelligence. Bravo to you and your equally lovely daughter!!!!

  4. As a fellow parent of a trans child I am excited to see other parents who also celebrate their child for WHO they are, period! Bless you!

  5. Thank you for the article. And THANK YOU to the Girl Scouts!

  6. Thank you once again Debi, for showing that there are good, decent, accepting and even loving people out there. we here so much of the negative, sometimes it is hard to see anything else.

    you are a wonderful mother, and your child is fortunate to have you as a parent, someone willing to look above any possible “discomfort” of having a “different” child can cause, and allow her this life.

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