- (Photo: U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Steven Khor)
Disputes over a transgender girl scout have led to critics debating whether parents should educate their children by promoting social inclusion over Biblical morality.
Since a controversial video was posted on social networking site YouTube, Girl Scouts of the United States of America has come under intense media scrutiny.
The almost 8-minute long video, which has since been removed, shows a 14-year-old Girl Scout, “Taylor,” expressing concerns about GSUSA because the organization welcomed a 7-year-old transgender member.
"GSUSA cares more about promoting the desires of a small handful of people than it does for my safety," the girl said plainly.
Critics have since weighed in on the matter, with some asking how parents and schools should approach transgender issues when educating children.
While some question just how capable a transgender child really is in understanding gender and sexuality, others have condemned the prospect of a boycott, arguing that using the term "safety concerns" is a passive-aggressive way of bullying the transgender child.
Those against transgender people often question whether it is a form of mental illness, suggesting it is a treatable condition.
Transgender matters are sometimes perceived as complex, particularly for religious groups.
One social networking user known as Sam Maloney expressed his religious stance on transgender people on the Catholic Answers website.
"I believe the Church would see it as a form of self mutilation, a physical response to a psychological situation," Maloney wrote.
Transgender pastor Reverend David Weekley has an opposing view on the matter, and suspects that Taylor has been "heavily coached" by what could be transphobic adults.
In an interview with The Christian Post, Weekley expressed his concerns about the proposed boycott and how parents should tackle the growing issue.
"I don't think [Taylor] really understands what [transgenders] are all about and to be born as a transgender person," Weekley said.
"I think it's very hurtful, it's confusing enough to be a transgender child ... you really seek out support and to have the whole institution at such a level as the GS exhibiting this kind of prejudice and misunderstanding is very harmful to families," he added.
Weekley, who was born a female, became a man 36 years ago and runs two churches in Portland, Ore.
The pastor emphasized that it is important for children to be educated about transgender issues to enable understanding.
“One of the[Taylor’s] comments was ‘they don't care about my safety,’ kind of making an assumption that a transgender child is somehow different, predatory, a girl in boy's clothing ... it shows that they don't understand gender identity,” Weekley explained.
Rather than condemning, Weekley insists on critics getting to know transgender people and their families, saying such an experience “might open up their eyes.”
The Rev. Dr. Acland G. Quarrie of Bronxwood International Church of God in New York also weighed in on how to educate children about transgender people.
“There are two sides to the matter,” Quarrie said. “[Parents] should show children the two sides of it so that when they reach maturity they can make an informed decision,” he urged.
The pastor also explained that children are very impressionable and that parents must do their best to completely educate children about transgender issues.
"You have to help [children], you have to lead them,” Quarrie said. “Their minds are not that developed, it's hard for them to make solid decisions and they often go with the crowd.”
In a recent statement the GS organization said, "Acceptance of transgender youth is handled on a case-by-case basis, with the welfare and best interests of the child in question as a top priority.”