Thursday, January 10, 2013

A happy message

I received this message a short time ago from a schoolmate I had recently come back into contact with, edited to remove any identifying markers (posted with permission):

"Nika - I wanted to share a story with you that I think you might appreciate. I am the leader for my daughter's girl scout troop and there is a little girl in her grade who I knew might be interested in joining. Her parents are friends with my close friend and I knew this little girl was struggling to make friends and that she wasn't a stereotypically girly girl. I've seen her at school wearing suspenders and she wore a suit and tie to their third grade program.

"Last night was her first visit to a troop meeting and we were reciting the Girl Scout Promise and Law. The closing line of the Law is "and be a sister to every girl scout." This child was standing right next to me and looked up at me and said, "But I'm a brother." I didn't know anything about her other than what I've written so far, but I looked at her for a moment and then said, "You can be a brother if you want to." Normally, I would have thought she was being silly and redirected her with a joke and gentle nudge toward appropriateness but something told me this wasn't silliness.

"I visited with my close friend about this and learned that this child has been telling her parents she's a boy for about 2 years. I have no idea where this path will lead. I have no idea ... if this is a phase that we'll look back on and laugh at her childhood quirkiness. What I do know is that I will love that child and nurture that child as long as she is in my troop and even after that. She or he can be a brother in our girl scout troop if she wants to.

"While I can't profess to fully understand what it is to be a transgender person, I know that I can love people and that I'm good at that. I'm not sure what your belief system is and if you don't share mine, I apologize....but I truly feel that something big that I call God placed that child in my troop. What are the chances that little girl who identifies her self as a boy in a small town ... filled with Baptists and fundamental Christians would end up in [a] liberal [person's] girl scout troop?

"It sounds like your journey to yourself has been difficult and continues to be difficult in many ways. I want you to know that your story, in part, helped me to intuitively know how to respond to this child. And I wanted to thank you for your openness and your bravery."


It's a very positive step in the right direction! We talked some more about this and clarified a few things (with some gentle education on my part: 'transgender' and pronouns), but this person definitely made my evening much brighter.