By Alexandra Cochran
Blog Content Contributor
In very controversial times, we are faced with a division of views on what is right and wrong. But love will always win and has won within the Boy Scout community. On Jan. 30, 2017, the Boy Scouts of America opened their hearts and are accepting members to join the organization based on their listed gender information.
For more than 100 years, the BSA has based their eligibility into the program based off the individual’s birth certificate. The BSA has been an organization that welcomes the male youth to be a part of a program that provides an enlighten experience and opportunity to build leadership skills. They have also been known for their openness, inclusiveness and learning environment that is free from ignorance and prejudice.
While I’m thrilled to hear they finally reversed the birth certificate rule, it does not take away from the change being overdue. I want to include that I am not speaking on behalf of the transgender community; I am only speaking from my personal experience. There has always been a transgender community. They are our neighbors, friends, sisters and brothers. Transgender children, like most non-transgender children, need to be provided a safe childhood and guidance into adolescence and adulthood. Historically, our American culture has not supported the forever existence of the LGBTQIA community (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual). But rather than continue to echo my same beliefs to a community of people I call my friends, I write today to help spread my word to anyone from small cities who may be misinformed about the LGBTQIA population and for those who are more conservative and propagate a negative stigma against this community.
Former Eagle Scout Peter Ramaley is one of many who have returned their badges due to the discrimination against the gay community. Ramaley stated, “I believe the BSA can accept, teach and love all Scouts if they focus less on factors like sexuality and more on the character and personality of the Scout and Scout leaders like my troop members do.” Let’s continue to welcome and support our brothers and sisters or those who choose to not conform to a gender, and spread our love in hopes of relieving this world from hate. Like myself, most progressive humans have accepted, love and use our privilege to speak on behalf of their community to provide guidance to those less accepting. Children and adults who identify under LGBTQIA are consistently being discouraged and repetitively absent from many regular activities due to their sexual identity and /or gender. Transgender boys, who were born female but physically and mentally identify as male and want to join activities such as BSA, should be able to with support from family, friends and strangers who surround them. This is not only important for the sake of respect but also for their mental health.
It’s important to model a different future for younger generations in order to accept those as they are and continue to support one another for a stronger future. Being rejected for who you are does not create a safe space to grow and succeed. I hope that this step forward will make a positive impact on other communities and organizations.
Feature illustration by Alexandra Cochran.