In recent weeks, there’s been a flood of web and social media activity surrounding the Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA.) The reason: cookies. But, not in the way you’d think. Those peanutty Tagalongs, lip-smacking Samoas, and could-eat-a-whole-box Thin Mints have found themselves smack in the middle of a controversy whose roots are firmly planted in the LGBT community…and not by our doing.
Back in October of 2011, Felisha Archuleta contacted the Girl Scouts of Colorado to ask that they allow her seven-year-old, Bobby Montoya—a trans girl—to join their troop. The local chapter initially denied Bobby’s entry, then recanted that decision after Bobby’s mother called a press conference to ask why. Girl Scouts of Colorado issued a statement saying “if the 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.” This decision angered many in the GSUSA organization, causing three GS chapters at a Christian school in Louisiana to disband, and many within the scouting ranks to come out in opposition to this policy of inclusivity. It’s here where the great “cookie controversy” unfolds.
Earlier this month, one 14-year-old Girl Scout from California, through a website called HonestGirlScouts.com, took to YouTube to call for a nation-wide boycott of all Girl Scout Cookies over the organization’s admittance of transgendered girls. In her video diatribe, she lists reasons why she feels the need for a boycott, and calls on all Americans to voice their disagreement with GSUSA allowing children who are born male to become Girl Scouts.
“Why is GSUSA willing to break its own safety rules and go against its own Research Institute findings to accommodate transgender boys?” the girl asks. “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.” Her video and message went viral, and, sadly, many comments posted before it was privatized favored her point of view.
Clearly in need of a some sensitivity training, and a lesson in Trans 101 (Bobby is a trans girl, not a “transgender boy”), this girl is failing to see the positive message GSUSA is sending to all children, trans or otherwise, at a time when suicide rates among our youth are at an all-time high. While many tweens and teens are being picked-on, bullied, excluded, and targeted for being different, GSUSA has opened its arms (and doors) with a welcoming attitude and positive, progressive approach to empowering girls—a core part of their mission. To that, I say bravo!
So, counter this ridiculous, bigoted, fear-mongering boycott and buy up as many boxes of Girl Scout Cookies this season as you can. Find local chapters selling them in your area at the Girl Scout website, or download the new Cookie Finder iPhone App. And don’t just buy for yourself. Buy for the office, friends, the boyfriend, husbear, in-laws, or active duty Military troops serving our country all over the world. In the end, we won’t just be thumbing our nose to the small minds in suburbia: We’ll be sending a message that LGBT equality is inevitable, as well as helping raise funds for an organization that values that sentiment in their ranks.