There’s something about that smell of freshly carved wood, or the calm of painting. The adrenaline, and need for speed. Those are all things growing up that my brother enjoyed with my father – building a car for the annual Pinewood Derby – things that I longed for in my adolescent years.
Growing up my brother and all of my cousins were boy scouts. Camping trips, survival lessons, and really cool uniforms were just a few things that came to them hassle free. Things that were a birth right, and considered a ‘coming of age’ ritual throughout my family. Behind the scenes support was as close as I was ever able to get to experiencing the joys of those events.
On January 30th, 2017 that same fate for many boys would be forever changed. The Boy Scouts of America announced that it will allow Transgender children to enroll in scouting programs. Boy Scout Chief Executive Michael Surbaugh stated “We realized that referring to birth certificates as the reference point is no longer sufficient,” Surbaugh said in his statement. “Communities and state laws are now interpreting gender identity differently than society did in the past.” The policy of accepting boys based on the gender the parent puts on the child’s scouting application will be effective immediately per Mr. Surbaugh’s announcement. “For more than 100 years, the Boy Scouts of America, along with schools, youth sports and other youth organizations, have ultimately deferred to the information on an individual’s birth certificate to determine eligibility for our single-gender programs,” the statement goes on to read.
The past few years have been full of radical changes for the Boy Scouts, which ended a ban on gay identifying scouts back in the year 2013. Before the trans-inclusive act last week, the most recent was in 2015 when the organization decided to allow and embrace gay identifying leaders (volunteer and staff alike) which was previously taboo.
“This is another historic day for the Boy Scouts of America. The decision to allow transgender boys to participate in the Cub Scouts and the Boy Scouts is an important step forward for this American institution,” Zach Wahls, the co-founder of Scouts for Equality, said in a statement.
There has been many reports of transgender children who have been kicked out of their troops when they came out as transgender. That’s not okay, and I personally am thankful the policy has been abolished to include everyone. I for one am also very thankful to be living in a world where organizations previously “single gender by birth certificate” exclusive are now re writing their ancient creeds. I’m hoping that this will shed light on the trans youth today, and help them realize they are not alone. Nearly 50% of transgender youth have seriously thought about suicide, and 25% reported that they have made a suicide attempt. Those are just a few unsettling statistics by the Youth Suicide Prevention Program stationed in Washington State. The children are our allies, our future community, and the future of the world.
This Wednesday February 8th 2017 is not your average ‘hump day’. It’s National Boy Scout Day. Boy Scout Day celebrates the birthday of Scouting in America. On February 8, 1910 a man by the name of William Dickson Boyce officially created the Boy Scouts of America, papers filed and all. This year so many more young men will be celebrating, and they all have so much to be proud of.
In such trying times, we can not let our youth fall or feel alone. This is just one more way to show our support, and it is a prodigious step.
By: Aidan Faiella