Even though this is a country that supports equal rights for everyone, it has not always been supportive of the gay and transgender community. Recently, on the news I saw the case of a seven year old transgender boy who was not allowed into the Girl Scouts of Colorado because of his sex. The young boy, Bobby, has long hair, dresses like a little girl, plays with dolls. He likes the things that society defines as female interests.  Like race, gender is something socially constructed. Society defines the behaviors that “should” be attached to a certain sex. Men are expected to be masculine and women are expected to be feminine. Bobby is not living up to his gender role in society, his body is the key contrast to society’s expectations of him.

            The mother is supportive of her son, allowing him to express himself in whatever way he chooses to.  Unfortunately, most of society will judge Bobby and critique him as not being normal because of his femininity.  The world has a set of traits and values associated with being a woman. Who is to say Bobby cannot be a woman when he matures? Because he doesn’t have a vagina doesn’t take away what he feels and identifies as. In our last class, the professor quoted Simone de Beauvoir “One is not born but becomes a woman” this is exactly what is happening to Bobby.  

At a young age Bobby is facing discrimination. Girl Scouts of Colorado say that they have an inclusive policy and that there has been a misunderstanding with the Girl Scout representative that rejected Bobby’s mother’s request. They are trying to establish that they can look past the fact that Bobby is not a girl, this reminds me of the idea of being “color blind” and ignoring race, but it’s just not going to happen. I may seem pessimistic but the truth is people like Bobby won’t have real acceptance because society has such embedded values that are hard to ignore. There will always be people to ridicule and reject him for being the way he chooses to be.

Here is the link for the fox news report on Bobby: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2011/10/28/transgender-youth-brings-to-light-policies-within-girl-scouts/

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One response

  1. Claire Musanti says:

    The whole idea itself of Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts is so gendered and stereotyped. In Girl Scouts, they sell cookies, do arts and crafts, sing songs.. all things that are very much gendered as what little girls should do. In Boy Scouts, on the other hand, they learn to build things, go camping, make fires.. all things that are stereotyped for little boys. Maybe these groups have changed, it’s been a while since I’ve been in elementary school, but I feel like the basic foundation is the same; girls can be a “daisy” or a “brownie” while boys can be an “eagle”. A lot of people view these groups as fun and harmless but really we’re pushing girls into domestic roles and pushing boys into active roles. I think each child, if they decide they want to join a group like this, should be able to choose which they want to be in based on their interests, despite their gender identity, whatever it may be. This little kid mentioned in your post just points out the stereotypes.