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Gender Identity Issue

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Thanks for all of the responses and opinions. The parent of the scout in question is now aware that his son announced to several scouts that he no longer identifies as a boy or girl and wants to be called by a different name. We asked the parent what we should do as leaders. He said, unless his son asks us directly to be called by a different name, it should be business as usual.

I really love my job as a volunteer... I didn't see anywhere in YPT how to handle this. If he announces to everyone that he identifies as neither boy nor girl, when we go on a campout, do I need 2 adults over 21 who also don't identify as male or female??

Obviously being sarcastic, but it's really getting hard to be a volunteer in a world where your gender is determined by how you feel when you wake up that morning.

 

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Usually when there is a significant change whether course registration, voter registration, work order, etc. ... there is approval documentation, a paper trail. I would hope even more so with a minor.

My $0.02,

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1 hour ago, Eagledad said:

I'm sure that works best for you. I balance information with real life experiences. 

By the way, two of my kids are high school teachers. They have a completely different take from their training on this specific issue. They also admit the challenge of weeding out political bias from the information they are given.  Much of the training my teacher kids get is how to prevent litigation. 

As I said, I can't believe normal people would believe that not contacting the parents is a rational response. 

Barry

What if the kid hasn't come out to their parents with their gender identity? Their sexual orientation? Is it our place to potentially "out" a kid to their parents? 

I don't think we should have any role in that dynamic between a youth and their parents. That's a monumental moment for people, revealing something like that to their parents. Many kids come out to friends, teachers, other adults before their parents because it's such a stressful and intimidating thing to do. Who are we to reveal that info to parents, even if it is inadvertent? 

And save it with the "normal" and "rational" comments. No one here isn't "normal" for having a differing opinion. Certainly not when it comes to areas of discussion that neither of us are experts/professionals in. 

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1 hour ago, walk in the woods said:

So genuine question here about how this works.  Suppose 11 year old Johnny shows up to school the first day, decides he doesn't identify with any gender and wants to be called Pat/they.  All the teachers and administrators spend the first quarter calling Johnny by his requested name and pronoun.  On the evening of Parent-Teacher conferences, Johnny and his parents show up and the teacher says "Good to see you Pat, come sit down."  Is that really the guidance?

A student wouldn't be at a parent/teacher conference. 

But if it comes up at a conference that Johnny is referred to as Pat, teachers are advised to simply inform parents that they abide by students' requests to be called a different name if requested in earnest. They don't need to say anything about any other specifics, any revelations the student may have made to that teacher, to other students, etc.

In fact, the directive from administrators in my wife's school district is that they are forbidden to disclose anything about that stuff with parents, like any disclosures about sexual orientation, gender identity, etc. They advise the parents discuss the name identity subject directly with their son/daughter, or they can refer them to the school's counselors if additional questions arise. 

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2 minutes ago, FireStone said:

A student wouldn't be at a parent/teacher conference. 

Interesting.  My son attended every parent-teacher conference with us from grade school through HS.  It was standard practice.  It was his choice on his IEP meetings.

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22 minutes ago, walk in the woods said:

Interesting.  My son attended every parent-teacher conference with us from grade school through HS.  It was standard practice.  It was his choice on his IEP meetings.

It's not how it's done here, but hypothetically if the student were present, the same rules would still apply for the teacher. Don't disclose anything about gender identity or sexual orientation revelations by the student. Simply say that Johnny has asked to be called "Pat", and that staff have respected that request.

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10 minutes ago, FireStone said:

What if the kid hasn't come out to their parents with their gender identity? Their sexual orientation? Is it our place to potentially "out" a kid to their parents? 

Out! LOL At least the parent would have more preparation than the unprepared volunteer scout leader.

As I said in the post that you have taken personal offence, I balance my responses based from my life experiences. Parents are rarely part of the problem that you seem to suggest is normal. BUT, they are always part of the conclusion, what ever that turns out to be. 

17 minutes ago, FireStone said:

I don't think we should have any role in that dynamic between a youth and their parents. That's a monumental moment for people, revealing something like that to their parents. Many kids come out to friends, teachers, other adults before their parents because it's such a stressful and intimidating thing to do. Who are we to reveal that info to parents, even if it is inadvertent? 

If the child can't approach the parents first, there is a much bigger problem for the family than who learns first. As I said, one way or the other, their envolvement will be major toward the rest of the youths life. You are using an extreme example for a very rare case. So to suggest a major policy for all situations based on a rare case is ignoring the big picture. 

24 minutes ago, FireStone said:

And save it with the "normal" and "rational" comments. No one here isn't "normal" for having a differing opinion. Certainly not when it comes to areas of discussion that neither of us are experts/professionals in. 

I'm sorry you are offended. But normal and rational are terms I feel are important to define the context of how the situation should be handled, or how  it's being mishandled. Making the parents the last to know is extreme. I also used the terms compassionate and harmful. When the whole of the family is ignored without knowing the complexity of the situation, volunteers are put at risk of making the situation worse and putting the youth in more harm. No matter how much the parents are taken out of the equation, they are very much a big part of the solution.

I except that my words are not convincing for you and I am not offended. I hope one day you can learn how to disagree agreeably.

Barry

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35 minutes ago, walk in the woods said:

Interesting.  My son attended every parent-teacher conference with us from grade school through HS.  It was standard practice.  It was his choice on his IEP meetings.

In MA, students under 14 in order to attend their IEP must be invited by school district. This rarely, if ever, happens. At 14 (not 13.9) , a student may decide, invited or not,  to attend his/her IEP.

Edited by RememberSchiff
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9 minutes ago, Eagledad said:

If the child can't approach the parents first, there is a much bigger problem for the family than who learns first. As I said, one way or the other, their envolvement will be major toward the rest of the youths life. You are using an extreme example for a very rare case. So to suggest a major policy for all situations based on a rare case is ignoring the big picture. 

You really believe parents would be the first to know? Most kids find it hardest to come out to their parents more than anyone else. There is a myriad of data and information out there about this, and piles of articles about helping kids come out to their parents, for the very reason that is is so intimidating, stressful, and challenging. My wife and my mother (also a life-long teacher) have had students confide in them about their sexuality long before they were able to do so with their parents. 

9 minutes ago, Eagledad said:

Making the parents the last to know is extreme. I also used the terms compassionate and harmful. When the whole of the family is ignored without knowing the complexity of the situation, volunteers are put at risk of making the situation worse and putting the youth in more harm. No matter how much the parents are taken out of the equation, they are very much a big part of the solution.

No one is saying make the parents last to know. Just not to put Scouting volunteers in the position of being the ones revealing these things to parents when it's not our place to do so. Kids should decide when and how their parents hear these things, not us. How is that extreme? 

9 minutes ago, Eagledad said:

I except that my words are not convincing for you and I am not offended. I hope one day you can learn how to disagree agreeably.

I thought we were disagreeing agreeably. Until you declared that any opinion contrary to yours was not "normal" or "rational". Some old allegory about a black pot and a kettle comes to mind... 

Edited by FireStone
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2 minutes ago, FireStone said:

I thought we were disagreeing agreeably. Until you declared that any opinion contrary to yours was not "normal" or "rational". Some old allegory about a black pot and a kettle comes to mind... 

NO, not an allegory, just words that define our disagreement.  Around here, the normal rational response to the OPs  question is contact the parents. The world you describe is not normal. It's quite different. 

Barry

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35 minutes ago, FireStone said:

You really believe parents would be the first to know? Most kids find it hardest to come out to their parents more than anyone else. There is a myriad of data and information out there about this, and piles of articles about helping kids come out to their parents, for the very reason that is is so intimidating, stressful, and challenging. My wife and my mother (also a life-long teacher) have had students confide in them about their sexuality long before they were able to do so with their parents. 

No one is saying make the parents last to know. Just not to put Scouting volunteers in the position of being the ones revealing these things to parents when it's not our place to do so. Kids should decide when and how their parents hear these things, not us. How is that extreme? 

I thought we were disagreeing agreeably. Until you declared that any opinion contrary to yours was not "normal" or "rational". Some old allegory about a black pot and a kettle comes to mind... 

Um, @FireStone, this week, our state's Catholics are reeling from the unveiling of the ramifications of a very broad, seemingly -- at the time -- rational, "don't tell the parents, let the Bishop handle it, he'll tell parents if they need to know" mode of operation. Of course, what we don't know is how many boys and girls were protected from abusive parents by honorable priests who used their calling to provide sanctuary as the Church intended. But, the general consensus is that creating a space where youth could be shielded from their families also created an opportunity for some malicious adults (sometimes as a group -- so much for two-deep :() to insert themselves and reap havoc. That havoc to those youth outweighed any benefit to many other youth.

Requiring teachers in NJ (or most other states with similar policies) to work a "what happens in school stays in school" strategy might not sound like the good sense that it seems to be making in your neck of the woods. Perhaps we should not draw too many parallels between agents of the state and other institutions. But, if that is the case, then one cannot argue that it is 'rational' to have what is required for such agents be required of a volunteer of a CO to whom parents willingly entrusted their child with an expectation of transparency.

Edited by qwazse

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15 minutes ago, qwazse said:

Um, @FireStone, this week, our state's Catholics are reeling from the unveiling of the ramifications of a very broad, seemingly -- at the time -- rational, "don't tell the parents, let the Bishop handle it, he'll tell parents if they need to know" mode of operation. Of course, what we don't know is how many boys and girls were protected from abusive parents by honorable priests who used their calling to provide sanctuary as the Church intended. But, the general consensus is that creating a space where youth could be shielded from their families also created an opportunity for some malicious adults (sometimes as a group -- so much for two-deep :() to insert themselves and reap havoc. That havoc to those youth outweighed any benefit to many other youth.

Requiring teachers in NJ (or most other states with similar policies) to work a "what happens in school stays in school" strategy might not sound like the good sense that it seems to be making in your neck of the woods. Perhaps we should not draw too many parallels between agents of the state and other institutions. But, if that is the case, then one cannot argue that it is 'rational' to have what is required for such agents be required of a volunteer of a CO to whom parents willingly entrusted their child with an expectation of transparency.

The Chicago Public Schools are a good example....

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OK, I am convinced that its not the SMs role to keep secrets from the parents. Scouts should know that upfront, that sexual orientation or gender discussions are not part of scouting and should be shared with someone educated to help.

Scouts that are confused with gender have issues that parents or professionals should deal with so we can move on with our program. 

 

 

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55 minutes ago, qwazse said:

Um, @FireStone, this week, our state's Catholics are reeling from the unveiling of the ramifications of a very broad, seemingly -- at the time -- rational, "don't tell the parents, let the Bishop handle it, he'll tell parents if they need to know" mode of operation...

That was never rational, not then, not ever. And you're talking about abuse. What we're discussing here is not. 

55 minutes ago, qwazse said:

Requiring teachers in NJ (or most other states with similar policies) to work a "what happens in school stays in school" strategy might not sound like the good sense that it seems to be making in your neck of the woods. Perhaps we should not draw too many parallels between agents of the state and other institutions. But, if that is the case, then one cannot argue that it is 'rational' to have what is required for such agents be required of a volunteer of a CO to whom parents willingly entrusted their child with an expectation of transparency.

No one is saying "what happens in school stays in school." Our teachers are being directed to not out kids when it comes to gender identity and sexual orientation. It's not their job to do so, and it's overstepping into territory that they have no business in, specifically that of making life-changing declarations to parents about their kids when those kids aren't ready to face their parents with yet. They can talk to parents about whatever name their kid has asked to be referred to. They can't say "Your kid told me they're gay/trans/whatever." 

I think I'm in the same role. It's not my role to potentially out a kid. I'm not saying "what happens in scouts stays in scouts" either. But I'm not jumping on the phone to mom and dad the minute a kid confides in members of the pack or troop something about their gender identity or sexuality. 

Here's a crazy idea. How about the first person we talk to about this is, oh, I don't know, maybe.. the Scout? And I'm not suggesting an awkward YPT-landmine conversation either. But at least the courtesy of simply asking the Scout if it is alright with them that I discuss the matter with their parents. 

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3 hours ago, FireStone said:

What if the kid hasn't come out to their parents with their gender identity? Their sexual orientation? Is it our place to potentially "out" a kid to their parents? 

I don't think we should have any role in that dynamic between a youth and their parents. That's a monumental moment for people, revealing something like that to their parents. Many kids come out to friends, teachers, other adults before their parents because it's such a stressful and intimidating thing to do. Who are we to reveal that info to parents, even if it is inadvertent? 

And save it with the "normal" and "rational" comments. No one here isn't "normal" for having a differing opinion. Certainly not when it comes to areas of discussion that neither of us are experts/professionals in. 

If the Scout has already told several other Scouts or his Patrol, as has happened in this case, wouldn't he have already "outed" himself?  What happens when one of these Scouts says something to the parents at the next meeting or COH or says "Hi" to him in his new requested name in front of his parents?  What happens when the parents if they don't know go the Leaders and ask if they knew and if so, why didn't they come to them saving them the embarrassment of finding out from someone else in public.  Very slippery slope on this one.  As a SM, I would use it as a Scoutmaster Conference moment to get to the bottom of his feelings to find out why and maybe have a group meeting with the parents.  It really opens up a whole can of worms not telling especially if it could lead to bullying or worse.

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