Earlier this year,
the Girl Scouts of Western Washington received a donation of $100,000. They were thrilled – that amount of money comprises nearly a third of the organization’s financial assistance program, and it makes a huge difference to the girls they serve.
Then, they learned that the donor had made the gift on one condition: It was not to be used to support transgender girls, which the Girl Scouts has been doing for years. So the Scouts returned the gift. Every dollar.
To make up for the huge dent in their finances, they just launched an Indiegogo fundraiser to raise back the $100,000 and use it for every girl who needs them, regardless of whether or not the girl is transgender. In one day, they’ve already far surpassed their goal, raising over $175,000 and counting. And there are still 29 days of their online campaign remaining.
The Seattle Met reports that it’s the second time “in less than five years” that a Girl Scout council [led by chief executive Megan Ferland] “has taken a public stand to support transgender girls.”
In 2012, when she headed the organization’s Colorado council, a 7-year-old transgender girl in Denver was denied entry to a troop. Although the council had never specifically said that it accepted transgender girls, the national organization had always made inclusivity the foundation of its mission. So after checking with the council’s attorney, Ferland issued a public statement welcoming transgender girls and explaining that the council was working to find a troop for the girl who’d been rejected. “Every girl that is a Girl Scout is a Girl Scout because her parent or guardian brings her to us and says, ‘I want my child to participate,‘” Ferland says. “And I don’t question whether or not they’re a girl.”
Absolutely incredible. I am the best kind of speechless.
as you may have heard by now, the girl scouts of western washington state were recently given a $100,000 donation. however, the donator requested that none of it be used to support transgender girl scouts. in a bold move, the troop returned the money as a show of public support of trans girls in scouting.
an indiegogo campaign was later started to raise the money that was lost from the refused donation. of course, at time of writing, the $100,000 goal has already been surpassed; however, GSUSA is a worthy cause to donate to. it has always been an organization focused on inclusiveness of all girls, including trans and lbpq girls. please, consider donating if you can!
A still from Girl Scouts of Western Washington’s Indiegogo campaign video.
The Girl Scouts of Western Washington recently received a $100,000 donation, but it came with a caveat: the money couldn’t go to supporting transgender girls. So, the organization gave the money back and started an Indiegogo fundraising campaign in the hopes of making up the difference. They’ve already done that and then some: in the first day alone, they’ve made $130,000.
“Placement of transgender youth is handled on a case-by-case basis, with the welfare and best interests of the child and the members of the troop/group in question a top priority,” states the FAQ. “That said, if the child is recognized by the family and school/community as a girl and lives culturally as a girl, then Girl Scouts is an organization that can serve her in a setting that is both emotionally and physically safe.”
It’s possible that the Utah Pride Center’s April launch of a Girl Scout troop that welcomes children from LGBT families and transgender girls brought the guidance to national attention of activists on both sides of the issue.
In 2012, a Denver troop attracted accolades and criticism for allowing a transgender girl to join its troop. One side effect: Supporters encouraged people to buy more cookies from their local troops while opponents advised people to stay away from the treats.
Claiming that Girl Scouts has lost its “moral compass,” the American Family Association created an online petition on May 13 to ask the organization to restrict its membership to “biological girls.” It’s attracted more than 38,000 e-signatures as of Wednesday.
“This means girls in the organization will be forced to recognize and accept transgenderism as a normal lifestyle,” the petition read. “Boys in skirts, boys in make-up and boys in tents will become a part of the program. This change will put young innocent girls at risk.”
“Our mission to build ‘girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place’ extends to all members, and through our program, girls develop the necessary leadership skills to advance diversity and promote tolerance,” Archibald wrote.
The Girl Scouts’ stance means that one of the most popular activities for girls is clearly accessible to transgender girls, said Ellen Kahn, director of the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Children, Youth & Families program, which focuses on LGBT rights.
“Scouting is such a big part of many children’s lives,” Kahn said. To her, the Girl Scouts’ guidance tells young people that “if you’re a girl, you belong here, and who are they to question someone’s gender identity? They recognize that’s not for them to do.”
That doesn’t mean the Girl Scouts USA can force local councils to welcome anybody. There are 112 Girl Scout councils across the country, all of which are separate nonprofit organizations. The national organization provides guidance to local Girl Scout councils on many issues. It works with the councils to ensure that the Girl Scouts’ mission to build girls of courage, confidence and character, extends to all girls, but it doesn’t dictate policy to them.
“Inclusion of transgender girls is handled at a council level on a case by case basis, with the welfare and best interests of all members as a top priority,” Archibald wrote in her blog post.
As for their critics? “Luckily, we don’t serve our critics,” she told CNN. “We are proud to serve all girls.”
“The moral dilemma began with a $100,000 check to the Girl Scouts of Western Washington – enough to send 500 girls to summer camp, Scout leaders knew.
But there was a catch. The anonymous donor stipulated in a letter: “Please guarantee that our gift will not be used to support transgender girls. If you can’t, please return the money."
The Scouts returned the money.
But $100,000 was hard to pass up. So on Monday, the council’s online marketing manager launched a crowd-funding campaign on IndieGoGo to try to recoup it with donations.
By Thursday evening, #ForEVERYGirl had raised more than $300,000 — triple the original goal.
A video posted to the IndieGogo page says: "Girl Scouts empowers EVERY girl regardless of her gender identity, socioeconomic status, race, sexual orientation, to make the world a better place. We won’t exclude ANY girl.” It has been viewed tens of thousands of times.
On IndieGoGo, many transgender adults thanked the organization and shared their experiences. The campaign has attracted donations from more than 6,000 supporters, including former Girl Scouts.”