When she was in first grade, I signed up Mitzi for Girl Scouts. She was interested and had friends in the program; I had nice memories of my (short) time as a Girl Scout and knew it was a fun experience. I also volunteered to be a troop leader, knowing that few parents do, and I wanted to make sure all girls who wanted to participate would be able to do so.
This is our third year, and while it’s not the easiest volunteering gig in the world, the girls seem to be having a fun time with it. Whatever my frustrations might be with the overall structure of the actual program (currently in a transition that aims to have a sharper focus on skills rather than badges), I do believe in the basic ideology and goals of the program: to help develop girls to be strong leaders, have self-confidence, and become interested in contributing in a positive way to our world and the people in it.
So when I saw this video last night, I was horrified:
This girl (identified as Taylor, from California) has put together a nicely edited, well-articulated presentation calling for a boycott of Girl Scout cookies, the sales of which are going on now all around the country. Why? Because, last fall, a Colorado Girl Scout council allowed a 7-year-old transgendered child to enroll in a local troop.
Apparently, Taylor (and others, including three troops in Louisiana that disbanded in protest last December) believes that inclusion of transgendered youth presents a real and present danger to all Girl Scouts.
I’m happy that GSUSA has taken the right stand on this issue: Spokespeople for both the Colorado council and the national council have said that as long as a child lives as a girl, presents herself as a girl, and identifies as a girl, she can be a Scout.
What bothers me the most about this video is Taylor’s teenaged demanor, so calm and rational and mature — completely, awfully at odds with the hatred and intolerance and bigotry that is behind the words she so sweetly utters.
Ironically, she also seems to have learned well from her time as a Girl Scout — she clearly has self-confidence, and sees herself as a both leader and as someone with a mission to effect change in the world. It’s just too bad the change she wants is one of bias and exclusion. Where her beliefs came from, I can’t say for sure, though I suspect it comes from the people who helped raise her to the girl she is now.
Taylor uses the three goals of Girl Scout goals to present her case: Discover, Connect and Take Action. Discover = identify a problem or need. Connect = to yourself and others. Take Action = finding/implementing a solution. All this is supposed to add up to leadership.
Except, for Taylor, it doesn’t. It adds up to a point of view I would be ashamed to discover in my own daughter.
Discover = Hey! Living and breathing in our Girl Scout community, are people of hate, bigotry, intolerance and exclusion.
Connect = Makes my skin crawl.
Take Action = Write this blog post. Encourage others to speak out, too.
And boycott the boycott — buy as many Girl Scout cookies as you can.