A biologically female Blacksburg, Virginia, high school student has attained the highest Boy Scouts rank possible — Eagle Scout — making the nonbinary teen the first ever to receive such an award.
The teen came out as nonbinary in 2020.
What are the details?
Jacqueline “Jack” Cooper, WDBJ-TV reported, is the first female in the Blue Ridge Mountains’ Boy Scouts of America council to receive such an honor.
Cooper, who joined the Boy Scouts of America alongside her brother when she was just 10 years old, told the station that she was pleased to be able to officially join the Boy Scouts in 2019 despite being a biological female.
“I always felt a little left out because of course I was the sibling, and I was a female, and it was groups of boys,” Jack told the station. “But since I was able to join as a true member, it felt more inclusive, and I was putting in more work.”
The station noted that Jack “led young scouts, earned merit badges, and built a play kitchen for Blacksburg United Methodist Preschool.”
“They needed more utilities outside so they could have a program this spring with COVID requirements, so I started planning that,” Jack said. “It took a lot of planning.”
The newly minted Eagle Scout added, “I’ve always seen Eagle as something that really improves character and overall skill in everyday life. I also just really like the idea of having Eagle, like, that’s something super exciting to me and not that many people get that in their life.”
Jack’s mother, Kirstie Cooper — who refers to her daughter by pronouns “they” — told the station, “Earning Eagle Scout as part of the inaugural class really emphasizes how dedicated they had to be in the two years that they’ve been a scout because they joined scouts the first day that they were able to and has continued to progress through the ranks.”
According to the Roanoke Times, Jack prefers to be referred to as the first female Eagle Scout in the area’s council.
At the time of this reporting, Blue Ridge Mountains Council has at least 250 female scouts in a total membership of 1,800 with seven females — including Jack — having attained Eagle Scout rank.
The Times reported that Jack’s brother, father, uncle, and grandfather have all attained the Eagle rank while serving in the Boy Scouts.
Jack says that they want to attend MIT for engineering.
Watch now: First non-male Eagle Scout in Southwest Virginia honored in Blacksburg