An Open Letter to the First Girl Eagle Scout

(Disclaimer: I am not aware of anyone being declared the first girl Eagle Scout at the time of writing/publishing. I’m writing to whoever in the future receives the honor.)

Congratulation! What you’ve done is no easy feat and you should be very proud of all that you have accomplished. Just being able to say that you’re an Eagle Scout looks good on any resume but being able to say you’re the first girl to do it looks even better. I wish nothing but the best for you and look forward to your successful future. However, there is something that I think you and everyone else should be aware of. You may be accredited as the first girl Eagle Scout but you’re not really the first girl to do it. This isn’t intended to be some sort of weird flex but…okay? Please allow me to explain.

For as long as Boy Scouts has existed, there have been siblings tagging along to meetings, camping trips, and other events. This a a normal and widespread thing. These siblings are almost always sisters or younger brothers who aren’t old enough to join Boy Scouts yet. In the case of sisters, they do literally all of the same things that the boys do. They participate in all of the same activities, learn all the same skills, and sleep in separate tents because coed activities are a lot easier to manage than so many outraged man babies want to admit. Anyways, my point is that many of these young women have met all of the requirements to become an eagle scout short of an eagle project and board of review. They are Eagle scouts for all intents and purposes but they don’t get credit for it. The fact that your accomplishment is possible is a step in the right direction. But even if we’re strictly talking about getting credit for achieving the rank of Eagle Scout, you’re still not the first woman to do it.

This image makes no sense to me but I kind of love it for that reason.

There are women like me, who have you beat by a decade or more. To be fair, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) didn’t know I was a woman at the time. I didn’t, either. It doesn’t feel fair. It feels like I cheated the system. Either way, I was perceived by the general public as a male at the time. This perception allowed me to do and get away with things that women weren’t supposed to do or get away with at the time. I, a trans woman, benefited from male privilege. An opportunity that wasn’t available to women was afforded to me not because of who I was but because of who I appeared to be. This doesn’t cancel out my personal struggle. It does not invalidate the years of trauma I have experienced due to being a trans woman in a transphobic world. I, like any other woman, have suffered from living in a patriarchal society but I can’t deny that there was a time in which I benefited from it as well. I guess you could say that I got credit for being an Eagle Scout but only because I didn’t get credit for being a woman.

You, however, are the first woman to get credit for being both. I want everyone to understand how big of a deal that is. Your accomplishment will be remembered and deservedly so. What you have done has opened doors for women all over the USA that have been closed for way too long. You may not be the actual first woman to achieve Eagle Scout but you are the most significant. Your name will forever be attached to one of the most momentous occasions in the history of women’s rights. Thank you for all you’ve done and congratulations!

Love, Lara

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