This year, like so many others, I started my year with a New Year’s resolution to lose weight and eat healthier. This generally means tossing the sweets and indulging in the grocery produce aisles. Having been a Girl Scout all my life, I was raised on Thin Mints and Samoas (Carmel Delights) and I remember when they sold for $1.50 a box. I have vivid memories of standing outside in the frigid Colorado January asking folks if they would like to buy a box. Selling those cookies allowed me to attend two different space camps growing up and pay for countless camping trips.
This year I considered saving some money and calories and skipping my beloved cookies — that is, until I realized just how important it was for me to support such an amazing organization. Earlier this year I wrote about Bobby Montoya, a little girl in Colorado who just happens to be transgendered and wanted to join the Girl Scouts. After some confusion and hurt feelings Bobby was allowed to join, and the Girl Scouts clarified their stance that anyone who identified as a girl was welcome to become a Girl Scout.
This ruling was such a win in the LGBT community, as it was one of the first public recognitions of the emotional and physical struggle of transgendered individuals, including our own GeekMom Jules. Girl Scouts of Colorado says requests for support of transgender girls have grown and the organization has been working to support the girls, their families and the volunteers who serve them ever since.
This past week, however, it was made abundantly clear that while the Girl Scout organization has opened its arms wide, there are still numerous obstacles for transgendered youth these days. Fourteen-year old Taylor (no last name) from Ventura County, California created a YouTube video this week calling for the boycott of Girl Scout Cookie sales, claiming the organization uses the revenue earned to push a radical homosexual agenda at the expense of youth safety. Taylor has stated she is afraid of 12th grade boys posing as girls as an effort to take advantage of younger girls. Since the YouTube video has apparently gone private (no doubt due to public outcry), let me share some of her “words of wisdom.”
“The real question is, why is GSUSA willing to break their own safety rules and go against its own research institute findings to accommodate transgender boys? Unfortunately, I think it is because GSUSA cares more about promoting the desires of a small handful of people than it does for my safety and the safety of my friends and sister Girl Scouts, and they are doing it with money we earned for them from Girl Scout cookies.”
“Right now, GSUSA and councils are focusing on adult agendas that have nothing to do with helping girls. I ask all fellow Girl Scouts who want a true, all-girl experience not to sell any cookies until GSUSA addresses our concerns. I ask all parents of Girl Scouts who want their girls to be in a safe environment to tell their leaders why you will not allow your girls to make any more money for GSUSA.”
I. Mean. Really. Taylor, and those who agree with you, I have something to tell you all. All kids are different, all kids have their challenges. Some can’t read or write, some can’t talk, some can’t add or do division, some can’t see colors, some kids hate their freckles or acne — and the truth is that some kids hate that they can’t feel comfortable in their own skin. Some kids grow up in the wrong body; that doesn’t mean that they are evil or dangerous, it just means they are different. If a child solely identifies as a particular gender, is anyone going to have them drop their pants to make sure they have all the right sexual organs? Not in a million years. To a transgendered girl, she was simply born with a birth defect called a penis. Its not something they have any ability to control and it shouldn’t be anything they are judged by. Transgendered children are not homosexual, they are trapped in a body that doesn’t fit them.
The Girl Scouts of the USA’s stance that they are looking beyond the sexual organs of an individual and more specifically at the identity of the child in determining if they can join their inclusive organization, seems to fit the core beliefs that all Girl Scouts aspire to maintain. The Girl Scout mission statement states that Girl Scouting builds girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place. Even the Girl Scout Law stresses respecting others, being considerate, fair, make the world a better place and be a sister to every Girl Scout. As a Girl Scout you agree to abide by that law; it doesn’t mean pick the Girl Scouts you like and discriminate against the rest. It means as a Girl Scout you are a sister to every Girl Scout, without reference to sexual orientation or any other physical or emotional difference that they might have.
As far as GSUSA pushing a radical homosexual agenda, I’d have to argue just the opposite. GSUSA openly states local, national, and global service and action are core elements of the Girl Scout experience. Girl Scouts of the USA stated in an October 1991 letter:
- As a private organization, Girl Scouts of the U.S.A. respects the values and beliefs of each of its members and does not intrude into personal matters. Therefore, there are no membership policies on sexual preference. However, Girl Scouts of the U.S.A. has firm standards relating to the appropriate conduct of adult volunteers and staff. The Girl Scout organization does not condone or permit sexual displays of any sort by its members during Girl Scout activities, nor does it permit the advocacy or promotion of a personal lifestyle or sexual preference. These are private matters for girls and their families to address.
It seems to me that GSUSA has done nothing other than uphold their 20-year-old policies. GSUSA doesn’t advocate or promote ANY sexual orientation, including straight. They have only sought to include any and all girls in their organization, even if that means that the girl might be different. Sexual orientation is considered a private matter and is not considered in the membership of any Girl Scout. If you identify solely as a girl, you are welcome to join the Girl Scout organization. Period.
So, I’m sorry Taylor, I refuse to support your call to boycott Girl Scout cookie sales as your reasoning isn’t based on fact or based on anything other than discrimination and vitriol. In fact, this year, I’m going to buy a few extra boxes to support an organization that has made visible strides in making the world a better place for ALL girls despite their differences. I can only hope that others see your “call to boycott” under the same light as myself and go buy a few extra boxes themselves. For those of you that really want to maintain your New Year’s resolutions of good eating habits, GSUSA does take monetary donations just like any other non-profit organization.
Need help finding cookies near you or when they will be sold? Check out http://www.girlscoutcookies.org/.