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Transgender policy change

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Heck, my CO might not see they have the "right" to turn them away. We had several COs in the district expel several units because of these membership changes.

Yes, I've seen this happen. It's sad and often I think done in reactionary anger.

 

 

 

So although you may not think BSA is asking COs and units to change, they are in fact guilty of -- at very least -- muddying the waters so much that they lay the expectation that units will accept (x) folks because BSA says they don't bar them anymore. No CO or unit in their right mind is going to subject themselves to the liability of turning (x) family away. Many leaders may not want the liability of what *might* happen if (x) person is now part of their troop.

 

Units have always had the right to select their membership according to their beliefs. Perhaps the real issue is the relationship between units and charter orgs is not well understood. There is nothing cowardly about it.

 

To be honest, the decision is more fair in that it resolves an ugly long standing contradiction. BSA has always had charter partners who's values have supported this issue or other similar issue. To ask charter partners to provide space, money and support to the scouts without BSA accepting their members as scouts is wrong.  Completely wrong.  To be a national organization, you need to accept people with differences.  BSA is a national organization.  Units are local and protected by freedom of religion (if a religious charter org)

Edited by fred johnson

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Who are the "constituents" for BSA?  Not automatically the families from whom the Scouts come.

By definition, that's exactly what they are. And this article points out what many of us have been saying: by ceding to the demands of an admittedy very small population that has very little, if any, overlap with the main demographic of its base, the BSA has alienated many more current and future members than those it will gain through this change.

 

Purely as a matter of ensuring ongoing operations, this was an ill-considered move. Surely they realize that more membership will abandon the organization as a result of this than they would if there were no change in policy. The "I'm going to quit because of the transgender exclusion" cadre had to be extremely small (if even existent) compared those who have already decided to leave. Combine a higher defection rate and lower growth, it's a recipe for failure.

 

  1. 1a :  a body of citizens entitled to elect a representative (as to a legislative or executive position) b :  the residents in an electoral district c :  an electoral district

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Units have always had the right to select their membership according to their beliefs. Perhaps the real issue is the relationship between units and charter orgs is not well understood. There is nothing cowardly about it.

 

To be honest, the decision is more fair in that it resolves an ugly long standing contradiction. BSA has always had charter partners who's values have supported this issue or other similar issue. To ask charter partners to provide space, money and support to the scouts without BSA accepting their members as scouts is wrong.  Completely wrong.  To be a national organization, you need to accept people with differences.  BSA is a national organization.  Units are local and protected by freedom of religion (if a religious charter org)

 

I see your point, but the vast majority of people are not going to see this. People don't think of the units or COs as somehow different from BSA, they see them as the local representative of the BSA. Heck, many COs in my area don't see the units as part of their ministry; more like they are tenants which the CO tolerate. I'll bet most don't know that they bear the brunt of the liability if something goes wrong.

 

I disagree with the statement that in order to be a national organization one needs to accept everyone. The charter from Congress and case law gives (gave) BSA the right to have the membership policies they had.

 

In my district I have already seen units and COs dissolve or force units out to avoid any controversy. I truly believe that few involved with Scouting really understand the relationship between units, COs, districts, councils and national.

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Yes, I've seen this happen. It's sad and often I think done in reactionary anger.

 

 

Units have always had the right to select their membership according to their beliefs. Perhaps the real issue is the relationship between units and charter orgs is not well understood. There is nothing cowardly about it.

 

I think the only way around this is local option, but is transgender a local option? Gays scouts isn't. Gay adults are. Just wondering what was said.

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I think the only way around this is local option, but is transgender a local option? Gays scouts isn't. Gay adults are. Just wondering what was said.

 

It appears that the answer to that is yes, it is a matter of local option.  (But not the same kind of local option applicable to openly gay adults, see more about that below.)

 

Here is what was said by the BSA:

 

Starting today, we will accept and register youth in the Cub and Boy Scout programs based on the gender identity indicated on the application. Our organization’s local councils will help find units that can provide for the best interest of the child.
 
I am filling in the "blanks" a little bit here, but I am pretty sure that means that a transgender boy (born a girl, now identifies and "lives as" a boy) and his parents may go to council, and the council will locate a unit that will accept him.  I do not know how else to reasonably interpret "units that can provide for the best interest of the child."  If the council places the child in a unit where the leaders don't want him because he is transgender, and/or they don't believe transgender is a "real thing", or the religious beliefs of the CO cause them to prohibit transgendered people from participating, that is obviously not in the "best interest of the child."  "The best interest of the child" can only be achieved where, at the very least, the Scout is going to be welcomed.  (It may involve more than that, such as a unit where leaders have experience in dealing with this kind of situation, or where there may already be one or more children in the same status; I am guessing those things would not be "required", but they would put the unit that meets those criteria higher on the list that the council registrar (or whoever) would call in the rare instances where this comes up.)
 
But anyway, that does sound like local option to me.  And not the much more limited local option applied to openly gay leaders, where you have to be a religious organization/CO to exercise the option.  And not the "uniform" rule of acceptance, with no local option, that seems to apply to openly gay youth.
 
So we have three different standards for three different situations.  Whether that is going to be viable in the long run, I don't know.
 
(Added note:  I agree with Matt, this has to be a local option, and fortunately, apparently, the BSA agrees.)
Edited by NJCubScouter

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I think the local option will always have some risk for law suits. Scouting is becoming a hassle for COs. 

 

Barry

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Until it comes to YPT issues.  Boy Scouts may be male identified, but unlike Venturing (apples) which is co-ed, Boy Scouts (oranges) is not.  There is no requirement for male/female SM/ASM's on an activity, but the can of worms has been opened.  The girl may identify herself as male, but the reality of YPT doesn't change.  That means special considerations, singling her out, imposing different rules for her latrine showering, and tenting issues all run counter to her sensitivities of her situation.  One can run aground in a boy-only organization that has females on-sight and everyone is being politically correct until the lawyers step in and throws a penalty flag.

 

 

@@Stosh, if the Boy Scout's identified gender of male is different than what is listed on their birth certificate, I think it is required to have a female adult along on the trip.  If the gender listed is the same based on state law, no female adult is required.  First problem solved.

 

Latrines - Most latrines have doors.  The one's that don't the scouts always impose their own "one person at a time rule" and the buddy stands outside.   For public bathrooms, state law applies.  Second problem solved.

 

Showering - Typically, scouts don't shower on weekend trips.  At out summer camp, any scout under 14 might shower once and the showers are individual.  You only have issues when you have State Park like facilities where the showers are in the bathroom.  Then state law applies, whatever that may be.  Three down.

 

Tenting - Again, birth certiicate controls and then individual preferences (scouts have to be comfortable with who they tent with).  Honestly, on most weekend campouts, the Boy Scouts don't change their clothes at all during the weekend.  If they do change, they take turns being alone inside the tent or change in their sleeping bag.  Most of my Scouts want to tent by themselves anyway.  Four.

 

Our Cub Scout pack has one boy with Downs Syndrome and one confined to a motorized wheelchair.  We are looking forward to welcoming them into the Troop and willing to make any accomodations necessary.  We currently have Scouts on the autism spectrum that we make accomodations for on campouts and at summer camp.  We have kids who do sports that come late or leave early on campouts.  I don't think this would be any different - we make accomodations based on the needs of individual scouts.  My experience is that transgender youth and their parents understand that this is a difficult situation and are easy to work with when they see people treating their children as human beings and not an "issue" or "agenda."  

 

I can and do understand objections to the decision based on someone's religious, moral, political and scientific views, but I think that arguing the practicalities of implemeting the decision are red herrings.  

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I think the local option will always have some risk for law suits. Scouting is becoming a hassle for COs. 

 

Barry

 

Everything creates a "risk" of lawsuits.  Just getting up in the morning and going to work sets in motion a continuous chain of possible events that could lead someone to file a lawsuit, whether meritorious or not.  Of course, you can't avoid it by not getting out of bed, the bed might break, there's another lawsuit.  Fortunately, the vast majority of these lawsuit-causing events never actually happen.  But you never know.  

 

I think a more interesting question is this:  In the 18 months or so that the BSA has had the local option for openly gay adult leaders, have there been any lawsuits?  I realize that is a fairly short period of time, and in many states the statute of limitations for something that happened on Day 1 might not even have run out yet.  But the fact remains that I have not heard of any lawsuits over this, and I strongly suspect that if there had been, the news would have found its way into this forum.  I also recall that lawsuits were predicted in this forum while the local option was being considered and immediately after it was adopted.  But so far, as far as I know, no lawsuits.

 

On the other hand, we know that under the OLD policy, banning openly gay leaders and probably openly gay Scouts, there WERE lawsuits.  We also know that under the OLD (but short-lived) policy banning transgendered boys from the boys-only programs of the BSA, there was at least one lawsuit.  One of the newspaper articles linked at or near the beginning of this thread says that the parents of the 8 year old child from Secaucus, New Jersey who was kicked out of the Cub Scouts had already filed a lawsuit before the policy was changed.

 

So we KNOW that the old policies resulted in actual lawsuits.  All we have when it comes to local option are predictions, which so far apparently have not come to pass.

Edited by NJCubScouter
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By definition, that's exactly what they are. And this article points out what many of us have been saying: by ceding to the demands of an admittedy very small population that has very little, if any, overlap with the main demographic of its base, the BSA has alienated many more current and future members than those it will gain through this change.

I getting really tired of this type of argument. I heard the same thing on the gays issue. It's based on the idea that the only people who wanted the change in the membership rules around gay scouts and scouters were themselves gay or were a "tiny group of outsiders". That is very wrong. There were a lot of scouts and scouters that were in favor of the change, not because they themselves were gay, but because it was the right thing too do.

 

It wasn't just in the interests of a few "gay potential scouts and scouters", but in the interests of all those scouts, scouters and COs that thought the policy was wrong. I'm one of those that spent years writing letters to national arguing that the ban on gay scouts and scouters was against the BSA values of non-sectarianism (as it's says in the bylaws and the scout law), that it discriminated against more progressive COs by denying them right to pick the leaders they wanted, that..., etc.

 

Please understand that the BSA is not "owned" by the conservatives. That it has to make room for all. In my local council, we have more COs now than before the gay ban. We lost a few over the change, but we gained several more that were waiting for the ban to be lifted (including two synagogues that had sponsored units for decades - they left shortly after the Dale decision, and now are back).

 

I admit the TG issue is not as clear as the gay issue was for the simple reason it wasn't really on most people's radar (I admit it wasn't on mine) and that national had not made any statements or given any direction on the issue until the recent case.

 

And I think that was the trigger for all this. By telling this particular youth "no" on membership, National had suddenly created a de-facto policy on TG youth. And National responded by having an actual, thought out (well one hopes it was thought out - but this is National) policy instead of an accidental one. Which I think was the right thing to do.

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I can and do understand objections to the decision based on someone's religious, moral, political and scientific views, but I think that arguing the practicalities of implemeting the decision are red herrings.  

No, some readers just might not have thought in that direction. 

 

Barry

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...if the Boy Scout's identified gender of male is different than what is listed on their birth certificate, I think it is required to have a female adult along on the trip.  

 

I would not make that assumption, fellow counselor.  The BSA is regarding this child (using the example of the Cub Scout in New Jersey) as a boy and accepting him as a boy, even though his birth certificate says he is a girl and he presumably has the physical characteristics of a girl.  There is nothing in the BSA's statement that indicates he is going to be regarded as a boy for some purposes (like membership) and a girl for other purposes (like YP.)  If that is going to be the case, I think the BSA had better say so pretty quickly, or else inadvertent YP violations are inevitable.

 

Perhaps @@RichardB could educate us on this subject?

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By definition, that's exactly what they are. And this article points out what many of us have been saying: by ceding to the demands of an admittedy very small population that has very little, if any, overlap with the main demographic of its base, the BSA has alienated many more current and future members than those it will gain through this change.

 

Purely as a matter of ensuring ongoing operations, this was an ill-considered move. Surely they realize that more membership will abandon the organization as a result of this than they would if there were no change in policy. The "I'm going to quit because of the transgender exclusion" cadre had to be extremely small (if even existent) compared those who have already decided to leave. Combine a higher defection rate and lower growth, it's a recipe for failure.

 

  1. 1a :  a body of citizens entitled to elect a representative (as to a legislative or executive position) b :  the residents in an electoral district c :  an electoral district

  2. 2a :  a group or body that patronizes, supports, or offers representation b :  the people involved in or served by an organization (as a business or institution) 

 

 

Then BSA is not guided by its constituents or "core constituency."

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BSA is not asking your unit to change or for you to change your attitudes.  For years Catholics, Lutherans, Baptists, Mormons, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus and Muslims have co-existed inside BSA.  We differ greatly to the point there are wars in other nations over these topics.  But in this country, we co-exist.  It's the same issue.  Unless you are disgusted with Lutherans and Baptists too, I just don't see the righteousness as appropriate.   .... joking with the Lutheran and Baptist part ... sort of.   ;)

 

I think you meant self-righteousness.  Righteousness is a good thing.  Righteousness is always appropriate, especially in scouting.

 

Are you calling Catholics self-righteous?  Perhaps we don't coexist in BSA as well as you say, Fred. 

Edited by David CO

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I would not make that assumption, fellow counselor.  The BSA is regarding this child (using the example of the Cub Scout in New Jersey) as a boy and accepting him as a boy, even though his birth certificate says he is a girl and he presumably has the physical characteristics of a girl.  There is nothing in the BSA's statement that indicates he is going to be regarded as a boy for some purposes (like membership) and a girl for other purposes (like YP.)  If that is going to be the case, I think the BSA had better say so pretty quickly, or else inadvertent YP violations are inevitable.

 

Perhaps @@RichardB could educate us on this subject?

 

 

"Required" wasn't the best word for that sentence.  I wasn't speaking specifically to YPT but more so to common sense practices.  I think it would be better to have said, "Having one adult of each gender would be advisable because under state law, you have a co-ed situation since (absent specific legislation to the contrary) gender under state law is controlled by what is on the birth certificate."  Couple that with the maxim that nobody ever got in trouble for exceeding the minimum requirements and you get a better sense of what I'm suggesting.

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@Stosh, if the Boy Scout's identified gender of male is different than what is listed on their birth certificate, I think it is required to have a female adult along on the trip.  If the gender listed is the same based on state law, no female adult is required.  First problem solved.

 

Not quite.  It would seem that one is singling out this person as different, the very thing they are trying to avoid.  They are a girl, they want to be a boy, they want to be treated as a boy, they use the same facilities as the boys and they wear only swimming trunks at the waterfront.  So the adults are going to decide to treat this person different than any of the other boys.....

 

I don't think the problem solving is as easy as one can assume right from the git-go.

 

I guess I'm not so myopic as to think this is going to be all that easy.  One can be in trouble if they treat this person like a boy and they can be in trouble if they don't.  I don't see a win for the adults in this situation.

+-++

 

"Required" wasn't the best word for that sentence.  I wasn't speaking specifically to YPT but more so to common sense practices.  I think it would be better to have said, "Having one adult of each gender would be advisable because under state law, you have a co-ed situation since (absent specific legislation to the contrary) gender under state law is controlled by what is on the birth certificate."  Couple that with the maxim that nobody ever got in trouble for exceeding the minimum requirements and you get a better sense of what I'm suggesting.

 

Yep, treat them differently than the other boys......or better yet, avoid any and all situations where YPT will come into conflict with what the parents won't sue the SM.

 

Not my call.  If national wishes to make such rulings and if the CO goes along with it, then national and CO can be present to deal with it on-site.  Not me, I'm planning on being sick any time that situation arises.  If that means the opportunities for the other boys are reduced, that's a result of national and CO's decisions.  Not my call, not my responsibility, not my problem.

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