Well, what do you know? The Boy Scouts are finally coming to their sense in light of intense public pressure to grudgingly accept homosexuals into their ranks. Not that they always didn’t have gay scouts, but felt that the best way to have young men build stout moral character is to make them hide their real identity or be tossed out on their keister. It does make me wonder though, will this eventually lead to the acceptance of trans scouts?
Let me qualify that a little bit. I don’t really think trans girls want to be Boy Scouts. They would much rather be Girl Scouts, and the GSA has demonstrated compassionate progressive thinking in this area and already moved ahead. I mean trans boys. Where on an ideological level, this makes absolute sense as being the right thing to do. On a purely practical level, however, there are some issues that should probably be discussed.
I’ll be honest, if I had a daughter who identified as my son, I don’t know how excited I would be to have them join the scouts. The reason is simple and really pretty sexist if you think about it. Trans boys still have girl parts. It doesn’t make them any less male, or less capable of handling themselves, or prevent them in any way whatsoever of becoming model scouts who rise to the level of Eagle or that Order of the Arrow business I never paid much attention to. True, getting the ‘writing your name in snow’ merit badge would be a bit trickier, but I have no doubt they would find a way. It’s pure and simple that I would worry about putting someone with girl parts into a group of pre and pubescent young men.
As some of you might know, I was a scout myself. I was always challenging myself by pushing toward things that would make me more manly. For the most part though, I hated it. I usually skipped meetings unless they were a mandatory pre-camping trip pow-wow. The camping I loved, but only if my dad was along. When he wasn’t, I usually didn’t go, but on those times I did anyway, I really hated it. On camping trips, there was little to no supervision. Generally we would arrive at the camp site just after dark, and instead of setting up, everyone would run into the woods like batshit crazy wildebeests to play ‘commando’ while my dad and I set up and started a fire and the actual Scoutmaster sat on the cooler and drank beer. When my dad didn’t come, it was pretty much the same, except we would end up sleeping in half set up tents, shivering for the lack of fire. In short, no real supervision.
Outside of the campsite, there was even less. On the few hikes I took with the boys, once we were out of sight, the cigarettes and smuggled liquor came out, as well as ideas to raid and sabotage other campsites. This wasn’t exactly the ‘little altar boy’ image most people have in mind. On one occasion, one of the older boys pontificated on the terrible things that happened to “narcs” I understood was aimed in my direction. I wasn’t going to say a damn thing. I didn’t need the attention. Getting to the point, my personal experience was that boys in this age range immediately devolve to a ‘Lord of the Flies’ social structure within moments of entering the woods without an adult. If a trans boy was present, I would have been gravely concerned that it was only a matter of time before the discussion broke out that he was “really a girl”.
For the record, nothing bad ever happened to me on any of these trips. Yes, my Scoutmaster, who also ran the Northern Lights two week long canoe excursions, was brought up on pedophilia charges, but I never had cause for concern. I was uncomfortable in the all male environment to be sure, and know I would have been even more so if it were perceived I was female, and that is without a vagina. I can’t imagine having to go through that when questions eventually came up as to why I didn’t use the urinal like everyone else.
This is a tough topic for me and I’m hoping for some good feedback and would love it if any trans men could weigh in. On one hand I feel like I’m being almost anti-trans for even taking this position, but I also have concerns for individual safety when I think someone might be at risk. The line on this is blurry for me. Fortunately I have zero say in this matter anyway, and I highly doubt the BSA is going to be knocking down my door to have me make the call. Still, I would like to define my own position for the sake of it. Thoughts?