Lies, Bigotry, & the Girl Scouts

[Content note: transphobia]

Back in 2010, an outright lie manufactured a controversy regarding the Girl Scouts (GSUSA). The Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute published that during an event, the Young Women’s Caucus (which took place during the 54th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women at the United Nations), materials (this, .pdf) by the International Planned Parenthood Federation were distributed. While that would not inherently be an issue, in my opinion, it was An Issue™ to this religious group that blew up over the internet and various "right wing" media.

Of course, it was, as I said, an outright lie. The Young Women's Caucus was an event attended by four groups: GSUSA, UNICEF’s Working Group on Girls, Girls Learn International, and The Grail. The participants were never given any materials beyond the statement they were working on writing themselves and the event was only open to the participants in those groups--no one else was allowed attendance. Eventually, the National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry looked into the "issue" themselves and released a statement in support of the Scouts that included the admonishment:
This is a good reminder that at times we can be quick to render judgment without fact, that not all information offered on the Internet is accurate, and that our organizational integrity is at stake when we fail to properly investigate allegations.
Recently there was a hubbub over a GSUSA publication mentioning Media Matters as a potential resource for fact-checking. FOX, of course, had a field day with this. "Right wing" media of all sorts attacking the Girl Scouts is nothing new, as Amanda Marcotte noted in her September 2011 Slate article:
More than a decade ago, Kathryn Jean Lopez of the National Review wrote: "The Girl Scouts' leaders hope to make their youthful charges the shock troops of an ongoing feminist revolution." A number of prominent voices on the Christian right went on to join her in sounding an alarm about the organization, accusing it of religious and sexual subversion. Cathy Ruse of the Family Research Council alleged that the organization is "pushing promiscuous sex on the girls." Bob Knight, while working for Concerned Women for America, accused the Girl Scouts of drifting into "radical feminism," and while the word "witchcraft" has yet to be trotted out, popular right wing website WorldNetDaily has accused the Girl Scouts of promoting "lesbianism" and "paganism."
And now that paragon of suspicion and bigotry, WorldNetDaily, is decrying the Scouts again by promoting a young woman's call for a boycott of Girl Scout Cookies (which are on sale this time of year and a huge fundraiser for the organization). Why the boycott this time? Because there are transgender members in the Scouts.
A reportedly 14-year-old Girl Scout has joined with parents and Scout alumni to call for a boycott of the widely popular Girl Scout cookies, claiming the organization is using cookie proceeds to push a radical homosexual agenda at the expense of the Scouts’ safety.


After controversy arose over the potential admission of Colorado 7-year-old Bobby Montoya last month, The Girl Scouts of Colorado released a statement explaining, “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.”

Rachelle Trujillo, vice president for communications of the Colorado Girl Scouts, added, “If a child is living as a girl, that’s good enough for us. We don’t require any proof of gender.”

According to a report in the Baptist Press, Trujillo also affirmed transgendered children are currently serving in Girl Scout troops across the U.S., though she declined to give details.
As usual, the pearl-clutching bigotry boils down to "I think this is icky and I don't really get it and I'm not willing to try to understand anything outside my worldview, therefore, it's bad" (you can watch her video at the link, if inclined). I'm sure it will be Big News on FOX, given that they still are making hay out of the Media Matters story.

It's always interesting to see how certain values such as some of the ones the Girl Scouts promote--empowering girls, a commitment to diversity, of honest discussion and education, of thinking forward and inclusively--are a "threat" or are "dangerous" or "immoral" to certain people. It really says a lot about those people and their values and not one bit of it is good.

You know, I think I'll be buying more boxes of cookies this year than I have in the past.

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