It’s challenging enough in this culture for a boy to find his way into responsible manhood. And that was before the Boy Scouts decided to include biological girls among their numbers.
For generations, Americans have looked to the Boy Scouts as a trusted guide to come alongside young men as they grew into good, strong men. The Boy Scouts’ new ruling allows biological girls to join the ranks of Boy Scouts – and as such, jeopardizes the mental health of both boys and girls. Many parents and mental health professionals recognize that these girls are struggling with a condition known as “gender dysphoria.” Joining the Boy Scouts does neither those girls – nor boys who are actually boys – any favor.
That the Boy Scouts of America would normalize this condition is a radical departure from scouting tradition and values. “Live morally straight lives” and “do no harm to anyone” are vows that scouts have taken for generations. No wonder the phone lines at their headquarters required a 20-minute wait time to voice an objection. This is a betrayal of moral reasoning and 107 years of scouting leadership. When an iconic societal institution caves in to political correctness at the expense of its members, it deserves the dissent that has come its way. No amount of scouting “good deeds” will overcome the deleterious effects of these changes.
Thousands of accomplished Eagle Scouts, scouting leaders, and scouting parents object to this new directive. But the real tragedy is the boys themselves. Scouting has been a reliable pathway on the road to becoming a strong and caring man – and being in the company of boys and men is integral to that process. Boys need a clear and unambiguous path to manhood. How many boys look forward to a scouting weekend as that one safe place to sit around a campfire with other guys – and feel at ease and affirmed? When did our culture become so advanced that we could dispense with the wisdom of the ages, notably that boys and girls develop unique strengths in the presence of their same biological gender?
What about thousands of parents who deserve to send their scout to camp without worrying whether another scout in the same tent has a vagina? Mark Turner, the Charlotte Scout Executive, insisted in an Observer column that this decree is valid because “scouting belongs to the people!” If that’s true, then put this radical change to a vote. Let’s see how many parents and former scouts would support this new ruling.
Normalizing gender dysphoria, which pretends that a biological girl can bend herself into a boy, simply confuses everyone concerned. The Boy Scouts are giving their stamp of validity to the practice of gender transitioning, though that debate is far from settled among mental health professionals. Most scouts and their parents believe this violates a basic tenet of their conscience – even of established norms of child development.
This is not the “Boy Scouts” that most people recognize. They no longer represent the values of those who have gone through their programs – or who are currently enrolled. The well-being and mental health of thousands of boys entering scouts will be sacrificed on the altar of political expediency.
The Boy Scouts had the chance to stand tall and stand strong for what is best for boys. Tragically, they caved.
Rinehart is a Raleigh marriage and family therapist who writes on the subject of sexuality. She is the wife of one Eagle Scout and the mother of another.