DENVER - Everyone has their favorite toys, no matter what age they are. For 7-year-old Bobby Montoya, it's Brats, Barbies and Strawberry Shortcake.
"I like girl stuff," Bobby said.
Bobby is a 7-year-old boy. His mother refers to him as a "he," but Bobby dresses and behaves like a girl.
"Bobby identifies as a girl, and he's a boy," Felisha Archuleta, Bobby's mom, said. "He's been doing this since he was about 2 years old. He's loved girl stuff, so we just let him dress how he wants, as long as he's happy."
Bobby is happy most of the time. But he says, sometimes in school, being a boy and dressing like a girl occasionally is tough. He's been bullied.
"It's hurting my heart," Bobby said. "It hurts me and my mom both."
Recently, Archuleta wanted to sign Bobby up for Girl Scouts. His older sister did it, and Bobby really wanted to join. Archuleta told our sister station KUSA 9NEWS when she brought Bobby to register, a troop leader told her Bobby couldn't join.
"I said, 'Well, what's the big deal?' She said 'It doesn't matter how he looks, he has boy parts, he can't be in Girl Scouts. Girl Scouts don't allow that [and] I don't want to be in trouble by parents or my supervisor,'" Archuleta told 9NEWS.
"It was like somebody told me I can't like girl stuff, and I have to change my name to something else," Bobby said.
Girl Scouts of Colorado released this statement to 9NEWS:
"Girl Scouts is an inclusive organization and we accept all girls in Kindergarten through 12th grade as members. If a child identifies as a girl and the child's family presents her as a girl, Girl Scouts of Colorado welcomes her as a Girl Scout. Our requests for support of transgender kids have grown, and Girl Scouts of Colorado is working to best support these children, their families and the volunteers who serve them. In this case, an associate delivering our program was not aware of our approach. She contacted her supervisor, who immediately began working with the family to get the child involved and supported in Girl Scouts. We are accelerating our support systems and training so that we're better able to serve all girls, families and volunteers."
Corey Barrett with the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Community Center of Colorado says the Center is seeing young people exploring their gender identity at an earlier age.
"There has definitely been this increase of questioning at an early age," Barrett said, "I think it's all about providing a healthy environment for them for that to happen. Everyone needs to be prepared or at least have an idea from a policy and procedure stand point how they're going to address that. And make sure that the public is aware of that."
The statewide nonprofit center for the LGBT population offers an educational program for parents and children going through a similar situation. The program also connects parents to others who are experiencing the same things. Find out more about those programs by clicking here.
(KUSA-TV © 2011 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)