Trans Eagle Scout deserves respect, not hate and abuse
Last week, I was thrilled to see a news article about Jace King, a teenager who has become one of the first transgender Eagle Scouts in the history of the Boy Scouts.
Jace lives in Splendora, Texas. For those unfamiliar, Splendora is about as far north of Houston as Prosper is north of Dallas. Jace is the first out transgender Eagle Scout in Splendora for sure, and may be one of the first in the country.
Jace’s brother achieved the rank of Eagle Scout. But for Jace, Eagle Scout had been an unreachable dream, because the Boy Scouts didn’t permit transgender boys to join their ranks until 2017.
Eagle Scout is the highest rank in the Boy Scouts, and it is a pretty big deal. Only about 8 percent of scouts ever attain the Eagle Scout rank. Some colleges offer scholarships to Eagle Scouts, and, for many seeking good jobs, being an Eagle Scout opens doors.
Eagle Scouts tend to make good leaders.
Because of the late acceptance of trans scouts, Jace had far less time than most to accomplish his goal, because you have to complete the various badges by the age of 18. Most scouts need four to six years to complete all of the steps; Jace did it in just two!
So, this kid ought to be celebrated, right?
But not according to some.
Jace said, “I’ve been berated and looked down upon by older adults who were associated with the scouts, saying I shouldn’t be there … that I should be in the Girl Scouts instead.”
ABC news reported that a community Facebook page that shared Jace’s accomplishment had to be turned off after so many people started posting hateful comments.
Think about that for a minute: Adults — who should know better and who, I’ll go out on a limb here, didn’t have the nuts to earn the rank of Eagle Scout — had the gall to heap hate on a person who pledges to “Do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the scout law; to help other people at all times to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight.”
According to the scouts, this means live your life with honesty and defending the rights of all people, which Jace is surely doing.
So, what kind of coward could spew their ignorance on a young person like this? I’ve spent the past weekend plumbing the depths of my mind to find the answer to that question. How can you hate an Eagle Scout who has literally done nothing to deserve it?
There is a song in the musical South Pacific, which debuted in 1949, called “You’ve Got To Be Carefully Taught,” and the lyrics of this song fit nicely here. The opening stanza to the song goes: “You’ve got to be taught to hate and fear, you’ve got to be taught from year to year. It’s got to be drummed into your dear little ear. You’ve got to be carefully taught.”
Hate is not rational. It’s not fact based. It just propagates fear with no rational basis. It’s “othering” people, stepping on their back to lift yourself up. And that is shameful and disgusting — certainly not morally straight.
You are born not hating anyone or anything. Hate is taught. Carefully. You are taught to hate people who aren’t like you, taught that they are less than you — different race, eyes, sexuality, gender identity — on and on. And for what?
Our Texas State Legislature is working overtime once again this session, peddling hate, interfering in a transgender child’s ability to receive affirming medical care. And why?
They don’t give two hoots about transgender kids. Or their mean-spirited attempts to prevent trans girls from playing sports with other girls. It’s not a problem now, nor has it been.
But the intellectual dishonesty on display is nauseating, with them claiming they are concerned about women’s athletics. That’s a laugh. When was the last time the Texas Legislature took up the cause of women’s sports?
Since our last president, the GOP has all but strangled the life out of altruism. Doing something good for the community, helping people and not receiving anything in return?
People who do that are as rare as, well, as rare as Eagle Scouts.
Jace King should be congratulated. Jace King should be celebrated, not vilified and denigrated.
Surely our children should be carefully taught. They should be taught not to hate, taught that hate is for the weak. To be honest, even if that may not serve their immediate benefit. They should be taught to be loyal and trustworthy, to be compassionate.
Transgender children have done nothing to deserve the vitriol being heaped upon them. We need to stand up for them against the hateful bullies of the world. We need to be the example they will follow later. We must teach … carefully.