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askyourspl

Gender Identity Issue

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We have a scout in our troop who has announced that he no longer "identifies" as a boy. He also does not identify as a girl. He has given us an alternate name to be called. How are we supposed to handle this? Any guidance in writing from BSA?

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45 minutes ago, askyourspl said:

We have a scout in our troop who has announced that he no longer "identifies" as a boy. He also does not identify as a girl. He has given us an alternate name to be called. How are we supposed to handle this? Any guidance in writing from BSA?

My first reaction is talk to the parents. 

Barry

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There's no guidance from BSA that I know of.

I like @TMSM's answer. But it will set you up for more interaction with the PL on how the boys are dealing with it. Not necessarily bad, unless they decide that bullying is the way to deal with it!

But @Eagledad's is right that understanding what the scout's parents are going through is important. It's fair to let them know that you're a little blind-sided by this, and ask them if there's anything going on that you've been missing.

Your CO might want to come down on this as well, so let the COR know (probably without naming the scout, for now).

Like any issues of moral weight, it's going to take some listening to figure out what the scout is really after.

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I don't care what politically correct experts say, this is a very unusual and sensitive situation that will likely have huge long term implications on the whole family. That is way above most scouters' pay grade. Does he even know what bathroom he will use? Youth protection?

I have a family member that identifies her gender differently on different days.

Call the parents. 

Barry

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In googling this topic, I only found information about girls identifying as boys being allowed to be scouts. If the scout in this situation (or any other situation) starts identifying as a girl, are they to be excluded from the troop?

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No doubt talking to the parents should be first step. A scout claiming to not have a gender has issues beyond SM help but no reason to keep him from participating in scouting for the short term. 

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Tell his parents that if he does not ""identify" as a boy, he is not eligible for membership.  If he chooses to "identify" as a girl, he will have to wait until girls are admitted.  Those are the only two choices available to them at the present time.  Sheesh.

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26 minutes ago, askyourspl said:

In googling this topic, I only found information about girls identifying as boys being allowed to be scouts. If the scout in this situation (or any other situation) starts identifying as a girl, are they to be excluded from the troop?

Don't ask for an advance on trouble. What you are dealing with today is hard enough.

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I agree with @Eagledad.  It is a sensitive situation, so talk to the parents first.  The troop's leadership might also need to talk to the Charter Organization, because the troop "belongs" to the Chartered Organization.

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I just asked my middle school teacher wife, her having just gone through a whole training session on gender identity. She was told that legally (here in NJ at least) teachers are required by law to refer to a student by the gender that they identify as. They do not have to talk to the parents (it's in line with "outing" a student and teachers aren't allowed to do that), or if a parent asks that they refer to their child as one gender and the student asks to be referred to as another gender, they have to defer to the student's wishes. 

Now that's public school, not scouting. But an interesting perspective on this issue. 

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These kids have a very emotionally tough path they are on.  Just like we would with any Scout on a tough personal trail, we support them.

If a Scout comes to us and says he is neither girl nor boy and wants to be called by a new name, then I think as a Scouter, you'd don't miss a beat or hesitate and simply say "great, then we'll call you by that name."

 

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So we are on the verge of debating whether or not to call the parents. This is exactly why I am against the BSA accepting transgender and gay youth. Volunteers now feel licensed and privileged to encourage youth toward a lifestyle that may only be a phase or a mental health condition, and possibly without the parents knowledge. That is child abuse as far as I’m concerned, and at the very least, not friendly.

A side note: We had behavior concerns with a 12 year old scout, so we called the parents to inform them of the behavior, and ask for their help dealing with the it. Our SM at the time explained that that their son had been displaying the behavior for two months. Against the advice of the previous SM, the new SM was trying to deal with the behavior without including the parents because he didn’t want the scout to get in trouble. The parents left meeting without saying much, but the CC got a call from their lawyer that night threatening litigation. They didn’t sue, but the reason is another sad story for the scout. 

I taught in the SM courses to Always, Always Always tell the parents everything. Not because they might sue, but because they are the parents and have the right to know. 

Barry

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4 minutes ago, Eagledad said:

So we are on the verge of debating whether or not to call the parents. This is exactly why I am against the BSA accepting transgender and gay youth. Volunteers now feel licensed and privileged to encourage youth toward a lifestyle that may only be a phase or a mental health condition, and possibly without the parents knowledge. That is child abuse as far as I’m concerned, and at the very least, not friendly.

A side note: We had behavior concerns with a 12 year old scout, so we called the parents to inform them of the behavior, and ask for their help dealing with the it. Our SM at the time explained that that their son had been displaying the behavior for two months. Against the advice of the previous SM, the new SM was trying to deal with the behavior without including the parents because he didn’t want the scout to get in trouble. The parents left meeting without saying much, but the CC got a call from their lawyer that night threatening litigation. They didn’t sue, but the reason is another sad story for the scout. 

I taught in the SM courses to Always, Always Always tell the parents everything. Not because they might sue, but because they are the parents and have the right to know. 

Barry

Yes - calling the parents is a perfectly fine thing to do.  A Scouter should never feel he is keeping a secret from a parent.  

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