Transgender Bobby Montoya Still Waits for Call From Girl Scouts

PHOTO: Seven-year-old Bobby Montoya wants to join the Girl Scouts but was rejected because he is a boy
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Felisha Archuleta, whose child was rejected by a Denver Girl Scout troop because he has "boy parts," said she is still waiting for an official call -- and an apology -- from the Colorado Girl Scouts.

Archuleta asked a local troop leader if her transgender son could join the Girl Scouts but was initially rejected. Later, a supervisor from the Colorado Girl Scouts acknowledged the organization would include the 7-year-old. But Archuleta is still awaiting the final word.

"They haven't called me directly," said Archuleta. "When I talked to the top [person], I said Bobby wants to be in the Girl Scouts, but have a different leader. She never called me back and only said they would give [the local leader who rejected him] sensitivity classes."

Bobby Montoya was born with male genitalia but has been convinced since the age of 2 that he is a girl. His biggest worry, said his mother, is that he will have to change his name.

"I believe he was born in the wrong body," said Archuleta, who admitted that even she has difficulty switching from male to female pronouns when talking about her son.

"I thought Bobby would grow out of it," she said. "For birthdays, he asked for ponies. He had a princess birthday, and last year when he turned 7, he had a Rapunzel birthday. I have just basically supported him."

Three weeks ago, Archuleta approached a local Girl Scout leader who only identified herself as "Mary" and asked if Bobby could join the troop. Bobby's mother said the troop leader "humiliated" Bobby, and he dissolved into tears.

The Girl Scouts of Colorado has said publicly it supports transgender children, and it released a statement this week saying the group is "an inclusive organization."

The statement, released by the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, reads: 'If a child identifies as a girl and the child's family presents her as a girl, Girl Scouts of Colorado welcomes her as a Girl Scout."

The Girl Scouts of Colorado also said in its statement that it is "reaching out to the family of the excluded child and will be altering its training programs so that all girls are supported."

Archuleta said she still doesn't know what the Girl Scouts intends to do about Bobby and the leader. She also questions why "it's such a big deal.

"He dresses like a girl, and you can't tell he is a girl?" said his mother. "But the Girl Scout leader told us he can't join because he has 'boy parts.'... But no one would know he's a boy unless they pulled his pants down."

Archuleta said the troop leader also asked her, "What do you call it, a boy or a girl?" referring to Bobby. "I told her, 'Excuse me?' Then she fixed it and said, 'Bobby. You can see that's a boy's name, and everyone will know he's a boy.'"

After hearing that exchange, Bobby was "in tears," Archuleta said. "He kept asking, 'Do I have to change my name?' They were only making s'mores! She humiliated him in front of everyone. Actually, I had to stop her in her words. He was standing right there. I told Bobby to go wait in the hallway."

Bobby has told his mother he believed he was a girl ever since he was very young, said Archuleta. "He just liked girl stuff. When he was 4 or 5, he asked me, 'Why didn't you make me a girl?'"

Until now, Bobby has dressed as a boy in school, but he wore a dress to school one day and was teased, said Archuleta. Since the confrontation with the Girl Scouts, Bobby has identified and dressed as a girl in public.

Girl Scouts Waffle on Inclusion Policy

Despite the humiliation, the confrontation seems to have strengthened, not weakened Bobby's sense of sense of self.

"He told me that since this all happened, 'Mom, you are right. They can't be mean to me. I am a human being like everyone else."

Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, said she was pleased with the policy of the Girl Scout leadership, "whether it was a change of heart or it just got taken upstairs and they explained the existing policy.

"These cases should be about the children," said Keisling. "The Girl Scout leader kept saying the 'boy's parts,' and that is not the Girl Scout leader's business and, frankly, not something a Girl Scout leader should have been talking about to a parent or anyone else.

"One of the things Girls Scouts learn is inclusivity and civility, and I think they smartly realized that they can't be uncivil or exclusionary."

Kiesling said that age 7 is not too young for Bobby to decide whether he's a girl or a boy. "Who is to decide who is a boy and who is a girl?" she asked. "We see this all the time."

"I don't think it's such a big deal," said Archuleta. "We don't need therapy. Bobby doesn't need therapy. If Bobby wants to be a girl, that's what we'll do."

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