Friday, January 13, 2012


They get to do cooler stuff, anyway.

Much has probably already been written about this story. A lone girl scout in Ventura County is promoting a boycott of her organization after a seven-year old transgendered child (in this case, a boy who identifies as a girl) was allowed to join a troop in Colorado.

Without addressing the finer points of her claims about safety or the family's case, I'll say that I'm mostly sad to see adults use this as a chance to display their own free-thinking tolerance at the cost of a child's innocence. I live with a seven-year old, whose view of the world is carefree and full of whimsy, as it should be. Were she burdened with an interior struggle of this magnitude, my role would be to guide and form her conscience with a goal of providing hope and clarity ---- not teaching her that the world must conform to her view of herself in order that she be fulfilled.

The two obvious camps in this debate are the religious dullards vs. the science-based thinkers, but which case is made by the evidence here? And who is operating on little more than a wish, a leap of faith in its own right? Our bodies have parts, which have names, which are but a hint at the glory of love and cooperation with one another and the Divine. To take our functional definitions of this elementary fact from a child's questioning mind is lazy and craven. That the Girl Scouts themselves initally rejected this family's request and later reversed their decision reveals their own philosophical confusion, if not cynical strategizing.

Anecdotally, I had a puzzling experience as a child which defined boundaries that I disagreed with at the time. I remember telling my third grade teacher, Mrs. Rosvold, that I would be writing the name "Christine" on my assignments, after coming to the conclusion that I'd really like to be named Christine. I approached her desk with all the self-importance I could muster, eager and nervous to reveal 'the new me'. She barely looked over the top of her glasses as she informed me that I would be using my given name on all of my work, and that was that. Was she imposing her vision on me, crushing my creativity and spunk? What would've been the harm in allowing me to do this for a few weeks? Maybe, and probably very little, but she was busy and I wasn't the focal point of the universe. This needed to be corrected for efficiency if nothing else. And to think it through, the brief deflation of being dismissed was preferable to the embarrassment of having to backtrack from this faux-reality once my fickle mind had moved on.

We do children no favors by following their lead, in most cases of discernment; we're entrusted with the task of ushering them into a world in which we've figured some of the hard stuff out already. The other choice, a painful morass of moral relativism, has no end. We would do well to ponder the complex gift of human sexuality , which my friend Mindy recently addressed quite personally and eloquently.

So much of our lives and selves are indeed tabula rasa, filled with wonder and freedom. Let's have the courage as adults to recognize biology as well as our own authority. May the otherwise venerable GSUSA grow a pair of you-know-whats on this matter.

1 comment:

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