Scouting Values: Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, and Gender-Diverse Parenting

Have you hear the hulabaloo about the Colorado Girl Scout Troop that admitted a transgendered girl? How about the other Girl Scout troops that have protested by disbanding or posting hateful videos on YouTube?

It all really makes me sick to my stomach.  I was a Girl Scout, my mom was a Girl Scout leader.  My sister was one of those hardcore primitive camping type Girl Scout.  While I was a more sewing and cooking kinda Girl Scout. That was one of the things that was wonderful about it – it allowed for a very diverse definition of what it meant to be a girl.  There were no limits saying girls should like this or shouldn’t like that. The Girl Scout mission is;

Girl Scouting builds girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place.

It was a very empowering experience.  I loved the things I learned in Girl Scouts and would really like my children to be involved in scouting too.

Well the Boy Scouts are already completely out of the question for me and my kids because they have decided to exclude gay children and adults from participation (a stance that was upheld by the Supreme Court).  That’s not something I could support or allow my kids to be exposed to.  Kudos to Steven Spielberg for stepping down from the Boy Scout Advisory Council for, in his words,

“The last few years in scouting have deeply saddened me to see the Boy Scouts of America actively and publicly participating in discrimination. It’s a real shame.”

So the Boy Scouts want to know who you have sex with.

And now, some want the Girl Scouts to demand to see your genitalia prior to enrollment.  A girl in California is asking for a boycott of Girl Scout cookies because Colorado admitted a transgendered seven year old girl.

Fortunately, these people are in the minority.  The Girl Scouts USA have affirmed the right of anyone who self-identifies as a girl to participate.  This is really an amazing thing.  Transgendered children (e.g. those born with boy genitalia but who identify as a girl and vice versa) are horribly marginalized by society and this would be a youth organization (the first?) that would openly embrace them.  I’m very proud of the Girl Scouts for this.

I still have a conundrum though.  I have a girl and two boys (assuming they self-identify with their physical sex).  How do I allow one to participate but not another?  I want them all to learn those great skills like I did (I can whip up a camp fire faster than my husband) and the camaraderie that went with them.  It breaks my heart that so much of our society is so damn interested in the private life of others that they would ruin this wonderful thing for kids.

I mean – why do you even need to know this???  No one should have to hide who they are or be someone they’re not.  How could that possibly build courage, confidence, or character?  Or build, as Boy Scouts’ motto says “conscientious, responsible, and productive society”?

I have a few years before I have to worry about it.  Hopefully I can find an alternative or, maybe, just maybe, the world will change and realize that love begets love and hate only breeds more hate.


3 thoughts on “Scouting Values: Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, and Gender-Diverse Parenting

  1. There’s been talk for some time now about making boy scouts coed. I think if that happens they would have to change some of their policies. There is always Indian guides and Indian princesses. Don’t know what their policies are. You also can’t be an atheist and be a boy scout. Seems its a bigger deal for adult leaders to be gay. They get very nervous around opposite gender leadership (lots of rules to keep things separate) so with a gay leader I think their heads would spin.


  2. I'm trying hard to understand the stance of exclusion so that I can better empathize and help open a space for others to let go of hatred. You post points out one of the big spots for me. How is it someone's job to judge and discriminate? It is no one's business, first of all, regardless of whether another person if open about something, to do anything except listen and support. And if someone is unwilling to do the inner work it takes to get beyond hatred, then they can exclude themself. It's not okay to say, "I don't like this, so it's all your fault."


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