Jump to content
askyourspl

Gender Identity Issue

Recommended Posts

44 minutes ago, FireStone said:

... 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.  

I think it's fair to let the scout know that you will have to talk to a parent. (After all, your "salary" comes from parents and not the taxpayers.)

How he responds may give you some warning of what hazards lay ahead.

It's also fair to let him know that you've never come across this way of dealing with life, so a simple "okay, fine" might not be an immediate offering.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
49 minutes ago, Ranman328 said:

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?  

Not to their parents necessarily. From what my wife has told me, kids are far more likely to openly discuss their sexual orientation or gender identity among friends and even teachers than they are parents.

There's a lot of baggage that goes with coming out to their parents. That's a big life-changing event. Come out to a friend or teacher and if it doesn't go well, that's a relationship that you don't have to live with forever. Come out to your parents and not get the reaction you hoped for, and that's entirely different. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 minutes ago, FireStone said:

Not to their parents necessarily. From what my wife has told me, kids are far more likely to openly discuss their sexual orientation or gender identity among friends and even teachers than they are parents.

There's a lot of baggage that goes with coming out to their parents. That's a big life-changing event. Come out to a friend or teacher and if it doesn't go well, that's a relationship that you don't have to live with forever. Come out to your parents and not get the reaction you hoped for, and that's entirely different. 

I don't know how the Scouting Program works in your neck of the woods but in my Troop, if a Scout told other Scouts or his Patrol he no longer identified as a boy or girl, the parents would be aware as one of those Scouts would have discussed it or said something.  So yes, the Scout would have "outed" himself.  I'm also not sure the NJ School System should be used as comparison to how we handle things in Scouting.  Most School Systems no longer allow any talk of God and that is a huge part of Scouting.  

I also find it odd that we haven't mentioned discussing with the Scout about the Scout Law that he should be reciting at every meeting.  Does the Scout Law not state "Honesty"?  Shouldn't we be encouraging the Scout to be Honest with his Parents.  By not telling or discussing this with the parents wouldn't I be violating part of the Scout Law that I recite at every meeting?  What your saying is we should pick and choose how, when and which parts of the Scout Oath and Law we follow based on the circumstance?  Just my $.02

  • Upvote 1
  • Downvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 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. 

And what if the other 50 kids in the troop want to know why they now have to call Johnny by the name of Sally? Is that now my job to explain to the entire troop that there are 31 genders and explain what Johnny is feeling? I think I would be getting more than a few calls from the rest of the parents asking why I am teaching their sons that it is OK that Johnny now isn't a boy or girl, but is instead a Unicorn or any of the other 31 characters that the state of New York recognizes as a gender... 

Anyway, here’s the complete list of 31 genders:

  1. Bi-gendered
  2. Cross-dresser
  3. Drag King
  4. Drag Queen
  5. Femme Queen
  6. Female-to-Male
  7. FTM
  8. Gender Bender
  9. Genderqueer
  10. Male-to-Female
  11. MTF
  12. Non-Op
  13. HIJRA
  14. Pangender
  15. Transexual/Transsexual
  16. Trans Person
  17. Woman
  18. Man
  19. Butch
  20. Two-Spirit
  21. Trans
  22. Agender
  23. Third Sex
  24. Gender Fluid
  25. Non-Binary Transgender
  26. Androgyne
  27. Gender Gifted
  28. Gender Blender
  29. Femme
  30. Person of Transgender Experience
  31. Androgynous

If this is now my job as a leader in this new age we live in, you can Scout Me Out.

Edited by askyourspl
typos and sentence correction.
  • Upvote 1
  • Downvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, askyourspl said:

And what if the other 50 kids in the troop want to know why they now have to call Johnny by the name of Sally?

The answer is simple.  Because Johnny asked them to.  The message to the Scouts isn't about gender identity.  The message is about supporting their friend and fellow Scout.

Respectfully - I think many are overthinking this.  This is simply a question about how do we as Scouters support youth who are going through their own struggles about who they are as young adults.  For this young person it was gender identity, but it could just as easily have been a number of others things.  

  • Upvote 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, ParkMan said:

The answer is simple.  Because Johnny asked them to.  The message to the Scouts isn't about gender identity.  The message is about supporting their friend and fellow Scout.

Respectfully - I think many are overthinking this.  This is simply a question about how do we as Scouters support youth who are going through their own struggles about who they are as young adults.  For this young person it was gender identity, but it could just as easily have been a number of others things.  

Respectfully? It's a big country. Your name may have been given you by the elder of your village. Rejecting it could be seen as a heinous insult to your community. Supporting your fellow scout may involve refusing to join him in folly.

What if a scout comes up to you and says, "Sir, I have concluded that we must identify Jonny as Blurf. His parents named him/it wrongly. How soon can we make a hike to the court house to ratify the name change?"

What if Johnny/Blurf's parents don't approve? What if they do but his family matriarch does not? Insulting her could result in several cousins leaving the troop. The considerations vary by locale, and since most of us have youth from different (albeit often subtly different) cultures, a simple solution one-size-fits-all solution may not apply.

What if the parents think the name change is a great idea (maybe "Johnny" was given by a priest who was recently found to be corrupt) but the scout doesn't?

@askyourspl, is the parent really okay with this? Is the scout of a particular tribe? Are your other scouts? (Seriously, this is a consideration.) At the end of the day, this information and a discussion with your ASM's and commitee should determine how you handle this. Unless I happen to be in your troop, no opinion of mine would be helpful.

  • Downvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In this case, there's no mention of suspecting any abuse. There's no reason to avoid talking to the parents. I would think that saying, OK, your child goes by a new name. Our troop is a boy only troop as per the rules set by BSA. Your child is welcome to stay in the troop, but other than the name change, nothing else is going to change. Your child has to be declared a boy on any paperwork with BSA to be in the troop.  For YPT issues, your child must be treated as a boy. If that's acceptable, then let's all carry on.

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 minutes ago, qwazse said:

Respectfully? It's a big country. Your name may have been given you by the elder of your village. Rejecting it could be seen as a heinous insult to your community. Supporting your fellow scout may involve refusing to join him in folly.

What if a scout comes up to you and says, "Sir, I have concluded that we must identify Jonny as Blurf. His parents named him/it wrongly. How soon can we make a hike to the court house to ratify the name change?"

What if Johnny/Blurf's parents don't approve? What if they do but his family matriarch does not? Insulting her could result in several cousins leaving the troop. The considerations vary by locale, and since most of us have youth from different (albeit often subtly different) cultures, a simple solution one-size-fits-all solution may not apply.

What if the parents think the name change is a great idea (maybe "Johnny" was given by a priest who was recently found to be corrupt) but the scout doesn't?

@askyourspl, is the parent really okay with this? Is the scout of a particular tribe? Are your other scouts? (Seriously, this is a consideration.) At the end of the day, this information and a discussion with your ASM's and commitee should determine how you handle this. Unless I happen to be in your troop, no opinion of mine would be helpful.

I think you're over thinking this.

A scout has asked to be known by a different name. Unless the parents specifically phone the SM to object to using that name just go with it. If the parents contact you to object then deal with that then. At that point a conversation with them and the scout involved is needed. Until then I'd advise simply don't worry about it. Frankly if some other scouts left because I respected the wishes of another scout then I'd be sad to see them go but there's a lot of kids out there who can replace them. 

I currently have a scout who prefers a different name. It's not a gender issue, she simply doesn't like her name and prefers something else. A real name as opposed to a nickname. So I use it. I have her legal name on record in case I ever have to take her to hospital and they need to find her medical notes. I've never even asked her parents. 

  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Names do matter, and they can matter to parents. When teaching second grade, I once got an angry phone call from a parent who noticed her daughter had been writing a nickname on her papers instead of her given name (she was using the first three letters of her 8-letter name). She was only allowed to use her given name. I thought it was ridiculous, but there it was.

As a parent, if I found out by accident that my kid had chosen a name meant to change his identity and adults were going along with it without mentioning it to me, I'd be pretty upset. Deciding that you have no gender (what does that even mean??) and telling everyone but your parents points to either some pretty serious issues or some pretty ridiculous shenanigans. I would hope that adults who are supposed to care about my kid would clue me in. I would hope that adults who are supposed to care about my kid don't assume that I will abuse my kid and shouldn't know things that he is making public.

  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, Ranman328 said:

What your saying is we should pick and choose how, when and which parts of the Scout Oath and Law we follow based on the circumstance?

I'm not picking and choosing anything. There is nothing dishonest about coming to grips with telling their parents about their sexual orientation or gender identity and doing so at a time that they are comfortable with. There is no violation of the Scout Law in that. 

  • Upvote 1
  • Downvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, askyourspl said:

And what if the other 50 kids in the troop want to know why they now have to call Johnny by the name of Sally? Is that now my job to explain to the entire troop that there are 31 genders and explain what Johnny is feeling? I think I would be getting more than a few calls from the rest of the parents asking why I am teaching their sons that it is OK that Johnny now isn't a boy or girl, but is instead a Unicorn or any of the other 31 characters that the state of New York recognizes as a gender...

No one said you have to explain anything. I've been referencing the public school model (local to me anyway) and how they handle it, and I think it's a good approach. Respect the wishes of the kid, if questions come up, refer said questions appropriately to counselors, staff, parents, etc. 

If you feel compelled to dive into such a broad discussion on gender when asked to simply refer to a Scout by a different name, I guess that's your choice. But I wouldn't recommend it. Certainly wouldn't be what I would do. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We're among the group of adults in kids' lives who might know something about kids before their own parents do. Coaches, teachers, similarly are in these same positions. We see kids outside of their homes, away from their parents where they might do and say things that they wouldn't disclose in front of their parents. 

The bottom line for me is that I'm not going to put myself in a position of possibly disclosing something to a parent that a scout hasn't already disclosed. It doesn't help the kid if I do that, and it might even harm the kid. Such was the case here, https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/07/gay-student-outed-coaches-invasion-of-privacy_n_3398368.html where a student's relationship with her mother severely deteriorated after coaches informed the mother that the girl was gay, and she even attempted suicide. 

Apparently the consensus here seems to be to immediately go to the parents. I'm opposed to that. I'll go to the parents at the appropriate time, but not before I've discussed the matter with the scout, and not if if I feel the circumstances would possibly be worsened if I did. 

At the end of the day, everyone is going to do what they feel is right until the BSA gives us clear guidance on these matters. 

Edited by FireStone

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×