Girl Scouts of Colorado support transgender youth

Girl ScoutsHere’s yet another reason to love the Girl Scouts. Recently, a young girl was denied enrollment in a Colorado troop because she is trans. Via GLAAD comes this statement released by Girl Scouts of Colorado in response:

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.

Isn’t it great to see an appropriate, just response in this situation? I know I plan to up my Thin Mints order this year. It will be a struggle to eat all those cookies, but it’s the least I can do to support this wonderful organization.

Boston, MA

Jos Truitt is Executive Director of Development at Feministing. She joined the team in July 2009, became an Editor in August 2011, and Executive Director in September 2013. She writes about a range of topics including transgender issues, abortion access, and media representation. Jos first got involved with organizing when she led a walk out against the Iraq war at her high school, the Boston Arts Academy. She was introduced to the reproductive justice movement while at Hampshire College, where she organized the Civil Liberties and Public Policy Program’s annual reproductive justice conference. She has worked on the National Abortion Federation’s hotline, was a Field Organizer at Choice USA, and has volunteered as a Pro-Choice Clinic Escort. Jos has written for publications including The Guardian, Bilerico, RH Reality Check, Metro Weekly, and the Columbia Journalism Review. She has spoken and trained at numerous national conferences and college campuses about trans issues, reproductive justice, blogging, feminism, and grassroots organizing. Jos completed her MFA in Printmaking at the San Francisco Art Institute in Spring 2013. In her "spare time" she likes to bake and work on projects about mermaids.

Jos Truitt is an Executive Director of Feministing in charge of Development.

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  • nazza

    I’m glad to see this. However, when this story ran on CNN, I happened to be at the doctor’s office, and heard a wide variety of transphobic comments in response. So close, yet so far away.

    • Dee

      Transphobic comments by definition are putrid. After a little bit of tracing these putrid and offensive comments back to the source it comes as no surprise to find oneself smack in the middle of a methane-gas laden garbage dump that passes off as a “brain”. Hating anyone for any subjective reason is truly not evidence of a sane and healthy mind. Sane and healthy minds say “it’s not hurting me why should I care?” Of course such minds will rationalize something that doesn’t meet their personal standards of “beauty” as eyesores.

      Well, not all girls are hot and neither are all of us and yet pee brains have to go beyond this and “hate” on an entire group of people. Reminds me of “judge not for as such shall you be judged”. Isn’t it funny how trans-haters seem to be primarily male? This tells me that behind transphobia is a truly valid mental illness called “male chauvinism”. How dare “real” men desire to actually be a female—as if it was truly only as simplistic as a desire.

  • toongrrl

    Those cookies are starting to look really good right now and it’d be supporting a progressive organization for children!

  • Seisy

    I work for a Girl Scout council, and every time I think the frustrations have started outweighing the good, something like this comes along and makes me proud to be working for this organization. (Really, most of my frustrations are along the lines of GSUSA failing to be as awesome as the girls can be)

  • Romie

    I’m pretty sure the Girl Scouts accept boys as well, or at least they used to when I was a scout 15-25 years ago. (I was a scout for quite a while.) It was a big deal to me, actually, and was one of many things that turned me toward feminism. I remember very clearly being an outraged 6 year old, upset that Girl Scouts and the YWCA were open to everybody, on the basis of their being people, but the Boy Scouts and YMCA thought I shouldn’t be allowed to walk in the door because girls ruined everything. I would not shut up about it. And will still not shut up about it, clearly.

    • Sam Lindsay-Levine

      I believe you’re thinking of the Camp Fire USA organization, which has inclusivity “regardless of race, religion, socioeconomic status, disability, sexual orientation or other aspect of diversity” as one of its core principles. As far as I can tell from ten minutes’ worth of research, Girl Scouts is still firmly sex-segregated. (And if it weren’t, the statement wouldn’t have to require ‘a child identifies as a girl and the child’s family presents her as a girl’, right?)

      Keep on not shutting up about it :)

  • Eli

    This is so, so awesome. I was a Girl Scout for eleven years (decided it wasn’t the place for me once I started to transition), and scout camp was one of the first places where I found queer role models and was really encouraged to explore gender, no matter where that exploration led. It’s great to see GSUSA extending that openness to everyone and living up to their mission to welcome all girls; I hope she thrives in her new troop.

  • Vanesa

    Just wanted to say that if you do buy Girlscout cookies in Colorado, please tell the girls why.

    I was a scout the year the national organization decided to allow girls of different faiths replace the word “god” in the pledge. You would not believe the number of racist lectures I had to endure while selling cookies that year (because, of course, only non-whites are non-Christian). Since cookie sales are so often the only interaction most people have with the organization, every person that had a beef with the decision decided to take it out on us in loud tones.

    I suspect that this year’s girls will be treated to a large number of transphobic rants while they’re out selling. Make sure they hear the supportive side too.

  • Dee

    Transphobia, unfortunately is as deeply ingrained deep with the recesses of many persons’ minds. Since most of us dared to transition post-puberty, it is no surprise that we have had to overcome the ravaging effects of hormones that took us in the opposite direction. Although many say my face is rather feminine (I usually beg to differ), my large frame works against me. Transphobia will take years to leave the national consciousness as pre-puberty transitions show that we who dared to transition as adults were right—that we were the males or females we have said we are all along just as the children now honestly claim they are. History will reflect that our battles against transphobia helped shape the future for all transgender children, from a larger timeline perspective. It will also show that despite, our post-puberty challenges we demonstrated tremendous courage and paid a heavy price that we were forced to pay. Even though victory seems elusive, my heart jumps with joy when I hear stories such as the one above that demonstrate that our efforts ultimately will not be in vain. As parents we sacrifice for our children. As transgender persons, we sacrifice for transgender children.

  • Dana

    My understanding of this story from this ABC news story with quotes from Bobby’s mother:

    was that the kid’s gender expression is evolving (understandably for a seven-year-old), and therefore wouldn’t necessarily be allowed to join the Girl Scouts. It’s problematic that Bobby has switched to girls’ clothing in order to be able to join the scouts, despite having previously encountered ridicule at school when wearing dresses. Should seven-year-olds be asked to definitively decide whether they “identify as girls”? Some can, but it sounds like Bobby isn’t quite there and is now being publicly forced to adopt a label that might not be appropriate right now.

    A better inclusiveness policy would accept all kids who wanted to join and participate constructively.

    • Seisy

      I’m not sure I agree with that. There’s still some benefit in giving girls in our society a space that is entirely girl-focused. There are scouting programs that are open to all genders, and those are wonderful and purposeful, and I’m glad they exist. But I’m glad the Girl Scouts exists as it does, too.

      The question of opening membership up to boys has been broached a few times at the national delegate convention, and so far, it has not been successful. I can’t see that changing in the near future, if only because the necessity for girl-focused programming isn’t likely to disappear any time soon, unfortunately.