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Gender Identity and Social Construction in the Event Initiated by Boy Scouts

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Society today is constantly shifting towards different attitudes and feelings towards people across the nation. The topic of gay and transgender rights has become ever more prominent and deals with just about every issue today. These people are often openly expressed within society and are viewed in multiple different lights. It is important to understand that this group of people encompasses many individuals who declare different gender identities, express themselves in different ways, or want to go by something we might not first suspect. Understanding this background is important when we want to apply it to events that spring up in society today. One circumstance that I came across deals with boy scouts, a well-known organization that has existed for hundreds of years. Evaluating this article using my background of gender and rights for different groups of people, as well as different sociological concepts we have examined will be essential to understanding this events implications for society.

First off, understanding the current event itself is needed to tie it back into the sociological consequences. The Boy Scout organization came out that it would “begin accepting members based on the gender listed on their application, paving the way for transgender boys to join the organization” (Chokshi). The group has traditionally referred to the birth certificate to determine if the person can enroll in the organization primarily for single gender programs they offer. In a time of changing gender roles and identity the organization felt that the approach it had was not sufficient for the changing laws that are shaping our nation. It did take a controversial event to shape the change that is now being seen. A transgender boy was kicked out of the organization in New Jersey about a month after joining (Chokshi). The chief executive struck up conversations with numerous people and felt best to make the move to not turn to the birth certificate as it is not relevant now. The Boy Scouts have been a progressive organization for gay and transgender rights throughout the years and they prove they continue to strive for that. In just the past few years they have ended bans on gay youths participating, and for gay leaders in their troops. Many advocates had spoken out about the route that the Boy Scouts are taking and are very pleased. “From our perspective, they clearly did the right thing” said one advocate (Chokshi). The parents of the kid who was kicked out were also elated that their transgender boy would be allowed to rejoin. The Boy Scouts are clearly making a move in the right direction and are continuing to advance themselves in a society that is often split on a difficult issue such as gay and transgender rights.

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With the Boy Scouts making progressive moves in our society today it is important to understand the real sociological effects. There are two important concepts to understand the effects, these would be gender identity and social construction. Gender identity is known as one’s perception of having a particular gender, which may or may not correspond with their sex assigned at birth. This gender identity is what surrounds the Boy Scout article. The kids that are beginning to identify with a different sex that they were not assigned at birth at the ones that are coming out and wanting to still join the boy scouts. These kids are proving to other kids that it is okay to be themselves and express the gender they want to associate with, their true gender identity. In a society that is becoming more open towards people expressing their true gender identity in the form of transgender, cisgender, or different identities I think this signifies an important shift for our country. Our country has become more open to these identities, something not seen in the past. I think this has to do with the social construction of our country. This construction deals with the shared knowledge of our residents. The old knowledge and thought process was that it was not okay to express themselves and everyone was known as straight or gay. As more people have advocated for equal rights and the ability to express themselves as they so desire the social construction of our country has changed. I think with more events such as the Boy Scout announcement our country will continue to see a shift in our social construction, something that is benefitting our society. With gender identities constantly shifting it is important to understand how they affect decisions organizations must make, like the Boy Scout. Overall, it is these two concepts that are truly shaping our society with events like this.

In all, gender identity and social construction are two major sociological concepts important to understand the event the Boy Scouts initiated. Society is beginning to see a shift in the views and attitudes towards different gender identities across the nation. When organizations make a move like the Boy Scouts did it signals a shift in our social construction which changes the attitudes of our citizens. I think in the future if the Boy Scouts and other organizations make more moves like this it will continue to strengthen our social construction towards one that is more inclusive of all gender identities, something I believe to beneficial for our nation.


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