When I was growing up there were two genders, male or female, and it was fairly easy to tell which gender a person was. Today, we are learning there are several genders a person can say they are. Most commonly, we hear about males identifying as females and females identifying as males, both labeled transgender. There has been much discussion regarding the transgender movement, especially in the past year. The news has been saturated with stories of so-called bathroom bills and colleges asking students to wear pins identifying which pronoun the student would like others to use when addressing them. I have some difficulty understanding these issues, as I still believe it is fairly easy to tell if a person is male or female, that is unless medical intervention has occurred. However, although I do not agree, it is not my place to judge an adult who chooses to be called by a gender they are not.
I do have concern when the actions of pro-transgender individuals negatively affect children. There is a current case of an eight-year-old girl who has been rejected by the Boy Scouts of America. The girl claims that she identifies as a boy. Her mother is quoted in several articles as saying that her daughter was acting like a tomboy by climbing trees and doing other “boy” activities. The mother also stated that she read a book on transgenderism and realized that must be what her daughter was experiencing. So the mother allowed the daughter to cut her hair and dress like a boy, as well as join the Boy Scouts. However, at this time the Boy Scouts are sticking to their tradition and policies of only accepting boys into their organization.
At eight-years-old, I too enjoyed playing outdoors. My brothers were a few years older and I looked up to them. I wanted to do everything they did, like ride bikes, play basketball and football, and go hiking through the woods. Now I live in a neighborhood with several families with young girls. I see them riding their bikes, tromping through the woods, and playing with lizards and bugs. At no time did anyone think of me or the girls in my neighborhood now as having male tendencies. We were and are just girls having fun.
Years ago there was a push to stop labeling toys and games as “girls” or “boys” in order to stop shaming young people away from what they enjoyed doing. Girls were allowed to play football and still be feminine. Boys could cook and bake and still be masculine. Now, the transgender culture is reversing this perfectly good mentality by saying if a female likes to do traditionally male activities that she must be identifying as a male. This is wrong, especially when talking about children. Young children have no idea what is “male” and “female” and they often go through phases where they like something for a while, then become interested in something else as their interests mature. Telling an eight-year-old girl that she identifies as a boy because she likes to climb trees is ridiculous both because climbing trees is not something only boys can do and because her interests will change many times over her lifetime. And, even if she does like climbing trees for the rest of her life, she may also like dancing, fashion, cooking, painting, running, singing, and any number of activities that anyone can enjoy.
Labeling a young child as something they are not will only cause unnecessary and possibly life-long confusion, embarrassment, and torment. In the case of this child, and others experiencing similar labeling, the appropriate action for the parent to take is to love their child, support their healthy interests, and refrain from labeling their child. Allow the child to grow, mature, and explore their interests into adulthood, making their own distinctions.
As for the eight-year-old wanting to be a scout, the Girl Scouts are always accepting young, adventurous girls. And, they can climb trees, too.