Yesterday I caught this article over at Huffington Post.
Now a little bit of back history. A few months ago, there was a young child in Colorado. Biologically male, however self-identifies as female. Said child wanted to participate in Girl Scouts. At first the local council said no, and later reversed this decision.
This caused some backlash, with a couple troops at religious-based schools dissolving their troops and going with an off-shoot group called "American Heritage Girls", described as:
"…a group organized in 1995 in protest to the Girl Scouts' decision to allow scouts to replace the word "God" in scout teachings with a word representing a personal image of God, such as a "higher being," "Allah" or "Buddha.
The newer group proclaims Jesus Christ as Lord, limits membership to girls and works to disciple girls as Christians."
American Heritage Girls (which claimed 13,000 members as of August of 2011), isn't the only religious offshoot of the Girl Scouts. For those who think AHG are too wishy-washy namby-pamby secular, there's also "Little Keepers at Home" Not to mention the "Pioneers Clubs", and GEMS, or "Girls Everywhere Meeting the Savior"
In a nutshell, AHG broke off from Girl Scouts of the United States of America for not being as discriminatory towards Atheists and Gays as Boy Scouts of America has unfortunately become. And it's interesting to note that AHG has a memorandum of understanding with BSA. (Bear in mind the fact that one of the reasons why BSA has become so far-right and discriminatory is that BSA gets a lot of funding from troops chartered by conservative and fundamentalist churches and religious organizations.)
Anyway, getting back to what I saw yesterday. It was a video by a young lady claiming to be a 14 year old Cadette Girl Scout. And she was calling for a boycott of Girl Scout cookies due to their inclusion of female-identified transgendered children.
(as of 12 Jan 2012, the video was taken private)
She also connected to a group calling themselves "Honest Girl Scouts", who are upset over GSUSA's inclusive activities. Not to mention that it seems most of "Honest Girl Scouts" objections seem to have an ideological tie. (Glenn Becks' "The Blaze" Really? That's an objective source???)
"Honest Girl Scouts" also wants GSUSA to disassociate themselves from WAGGS (World Association of Girl Guides and Scouts):
"BREAK ALL ASSOCIATION, MEMBERSHIP AND FUNDING FROM WAGGGS (World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts), as they clearly demonstrate a friendship with International Planned Parenthood Foundation (IPPF) and its worldwide agenda of explicit sexual education for young children."
They also seem to be paired with "Girl Scouts Why Not", "100 Questions for the Girl Scouts", and "Speak Now Girl Scouts", all of whom are using the same talking points and showing the same anti-feminism, anti-LGBT, and anti-religious diversity diversity and showing the same ties to the fundamentalist right and the anti-choice community. And all of whom seem to be promoting AHG as an alternative.
I'm a Girl Scout dad myself, so I showed this video to my daughter. Who was less than impressed (she thinks the girl in the video is violating the Girl Scout Law. I can't say I disagree with her.) But she noticed something that was nibbling at the back of my brain.
In the video, the girl (Who claims to be a 14 year old named "Taylor" with 8 years in Girl Scouts) is wearing a Cadette sash. On the sash is US Flag patch, GS and Council patches, a strip of duct tape covering the troop numbers, seven membership star pins, and what looks to be the Bronze Award (the third highest award in Girl Scouts, and the highest a Junior can achieve.)
(You can find the approved layout for the badges here)
There's something I'm not seeing - and that my daughter noticed without any prompting.
You see, "Taylor" claims to have been in Girl Scouts for eight years, meaning she was six when she joined. Which means she would have been a Daisy when she joined, and progressed from Daisy to Brownie to Junior and then to Cadette. At each stage, the girl "bridges" to the next stage, with each bridging having a different shaped rainbow-striped patch. In addition, when one goes from Brownie to Junior, they're considered to have "flown up" from Brownies, and a Brownie Wings patch is added, which stays on the sash all the way though to Ambassador.
Finally, if Taylor had been active enough to earn a Bronze Award, you would expect some merit badges on that sash too.
But there's the problem. There's no bridging patch. No brownie wings. No merit badges. Absolutely nothing to indicate any sort of activity outside of the membership stars. And the sash doesn't look all that used either.
At this point, I smell a rat. I find it very hard to believe this young lady is actually a Girl Scout. But I do think she's part of an attempt by the religious right to hurt Girl Scouting financially.
I have to say that I'm seeing an effort from the fundamentalist right in this country to "punish" the Girl Scouts in this country for not having become as far-right and discriminatory as the Boy Scouts have unfortunately become, and for daring to teach girls to be something other than second-class citizens.
This "boycott" (which matches one that "Speak Now Girl Scouts" is also doing), seems to be an example of that attempt to punish GSUSA for daring to be something more than a cookie-cutter clone of BSA with the word "Boy" replaced with "Girl". And for daring to have a different view of what Scouting is than the people who run BSA.
Oh, and please plan to buy more cookies. Or donate cookies to people in the military via "Operation Cookie Drop".
On edit - 8:35pm PST, 12 January 2012.
"It seems the parents who run a ludicrous, anti-women, anti-LGBT, anti-American, anti-Girl Scouts group called ”Honest Girl Scouts” are using their own 14-year old daughter to wage war on the Girl Scouts for the appropriate and harmless inclusion of a seven-year old transgender girl in a scout troop in Colorado.
(The transgender girl, Bobby Montoya, was first told she couldn’t join, then the Scouts changed their minds.)
Taylor — who won’t give her last name — unleashed an almost eight-minute self-righteous, bigoted, and ignorant video essentially claiming that the seven-year old transgender girl was a physical threat to other girl scouts. She mention her parents in the video, though not by name, and directs viewers to the website, “Honest Girl Scouts.”
But if “Honest Girl Scouts” are so honest, why are they hiding who they are? Their domain, registered in 2010, says it’s owned by “The Universe.” Have they have fraudulently registered their domain, a violation, if I’m not mistaken, of ICAAN rules? And there is no mention on the site of who runs it. (I’ve started an investigation with the domain registrar to request they look into what seems to be a fraudulent registration….)"