AUSTIN (KXAN) — Beatrix Jackman was nearly speechless.
“I don’t even know what to say.”
Her mask fell off because she was smiling so much over her gift — one she rightfully earned.
“Thank you to everybody who has helped me along this path.”
Jackman, 19, is officially an Eagle Scout as a member of Scouts BSA Troop 2019. She received her Eagle award Thursday morning outside her home in north central Austin. Capitol Area Council’s Director of Marketing and Public Relations Charles Mead surprised her and her mom Julie Ziegelman with the medal and certificate.
“I’m so happy,” Jackman said.
This achievement and ranking is one of many along her journey.
Jackman is a transgender woman. She was confident enough to tell her troop in middle school she identified as female shortly after achieving her Life ranking. The initial reception wasn’t warm.
“Their response was that I could either keep presenting as male there, I could do lone Scouting, or I could quit,” she said.
She chose the latter, leaving Scouting for a while but decided to return when news of transgender boys being allowed in circulated. However, she had to wait until transgender girls were allowed in 2019.
“Why come back? It was important for me to finish. It was important for me to blaze this path so others could follow,” Jackman said.
Through all the loops and hurdles, she is now part of the Capitol Area Council’s inaugural class of female Eagle Scouts. A goal that unfortunately bears a regret.
“The biggest thing I regret is that my grandma died in June and missed being here to see me become an Eagle,” Jackman said. “But, she was so proud of me and knew I would succeed.”
A sentiment her mom shared.
“I’m really proud of my daughter and I’m really proud of Scouting BSA,” Ziegelman said. “Because, at every step of this process for Beatrix, they could have just decided that this wasn’t gonna work and not include her, but every person involved made a choice to make this an inclusive environment for Beatrix and more people like her.”
Jackman is in the process of the City of Austin honoring her for being one of the first trans women to earn Eagle Scout as a part of the Capitol Area Council’s and nation’s inaugural class of female Eagle Scouts.
PFLAG’s Austin chapter will also honor her. According to the group’s website, PFLAG is the first and largest organization for LGBTQ+, including their family members and allies. It sports more than 400 chapters and 200,000 members across the country.
“They did more to help my mom and me make it through my transition than anyone else,” Jackman said. “The free support groups they have were my mom’s lifeline and going to them and listening to everyone’s stories really helped her understand.”
PFLAG Austin is who Jackman focused on for her Eagle Scout project.
She created more than 100 self-soothing kits. Each contains items like hot chocolate, bath bombs and more to assist with mental health needs. All items were donated. She also collected individual donations as well as money from drives.
If that wasn’t enough, she will also receive a resolution from the State Representative for District 49, Gina Hinojosa.
“I’m super proud of her support of LGBTQ+ people and love that she is part of the LGBTQ caucus,” Jackman said.
Looking forward to the future
Jackman hopes to encourage other girls like her to pursue the goal of becoming an Eagle Scout and that it’s possible for them.
“I hope to instill that reaching such goals is important for everybody, not just one group or another. It doesn’t have to be Eagle Scout. But, if that is what you want then don’t take no for an answer, and make sure you are having fun, because if it’s not fun, you’re not doing it right,” she said.
Beatrix is currently a sophomore at UT Austin majoring in Mathematics. She is also a member of the all-inclusive social sorority Gamma Rho Lambda Tau Chapter.