Are there gay Girl Scouts and should I buy cookies?
February 9, 2013: This old post (Jan. 28, 2009) has been getting a lot of traffic lately so I thought I should update.
…It’s that most wonderful time of the year.
I haven’t purchased Girl Scout cookies for several years because I didn’t know anyone with children, but my mom usually gets around to sending a box in May or so. I am now working in a building with many people with children and there are “Cookies!” signs up all over. I was going to order a couple of boxes, but then I started wondering if the Girl Scouts have the same anti-gay policies as the Boy Scouts (in case you missed it, here is an article about the Supreme Court ruling on the Boy Scouts barring gay troop leaders and A Review of BSA’s Gay Policy.)
Update 2/9/13: Boy Scouts are in the news again this week, having first announced they are going to reconsider their policy of banning gay scout leaders and members, then announcing they are putting off that decision until May.
Now, I don’t think the Girl Scouts, whose stated goal is “in an accepting and nurturing environment, girls build character and skills for success in the real world” should become consumed with pushing any particular political agenda, but I’m not about to give one pretty penny to an organization with a policy of discrimination against my favorite group of people.
The official website for Girl Scouts of America does not state a policy on the topic of lesbian members and leadership, so I poked around for awhile on the World Wide Web. (I did learn from the website that two-thirds of female members of Congress have been Girl Scouts.)
For the record, as a child I spent a couple of fairly uninspiring years in Brownies. I have fuzzy memories of a week-long summer Brownie day camp tie-dying t-shirts and roasting bananas with chocolate and marshmallows. During afternoon troupe meetings I remember cross-stitching a cutesy puppy. Or rather, not cross-stitching a puppy – what about the hiking and fire making, hello? That was 1982; now the girls earn badges in aerospace and computers. I graduated to Girl Scouts in third grade just as I was entering a new school with a bunch of Mean Girls and quickly dropped out. So much for my senatorial career.
Note: I was hoping to insert a picture here of some punk rock Girl Scout flipping the bird, but I was afraid to do an image search for “Bad Girl Scout.”
Anyway, here’s what I found on the gay topic:
Girl Scouts on GLBTQ.com
“Although at various times in its history, the Girl Scouts organization and affiliated troops have expressed fears about homosexuals working with children and have conducted witch-hunts to purge lesbians from positions of leadership, the Girl Scouts of the U. S. A. has had an inclusive non-discrimination policy since 1980.”
“Though many feel that the Girl Scouts’ policy–which states that the organization does not discriminate or intrude into personal issues–amounts to a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy about lesbians in scouting, it is still remarkably open for a young people’s organization in the United States.”
Girl Scouts of the USA by Debra L. Stang
“In a letter sent to parents, Girl Scouts states, “The Girl Scout organization does not discriminate, but we do not endorse any particular lifestyle and we do not recruit lesbians as a group.”
“Only about two dozen of the 300+ Girl Scouts Councils have adopted explicit non-discrimination policies. The rest operate on a vague “don’t ask, don’t tell” basis. Each Council is also allowed to interpret Girl Scouts rules in its own way.” … “Unlike Boy Scouts of America, which remains mired in unabashed bigotry, Girl Scouts of the USA is trying to move towards a policy of acceptance.”
Girl Scouts Blazing Its Own Trail On Lesbian Issue by Barbara Raab
“It’s a non-issue for us,” said Lori Arguelles, communications director, who stressed that rigorous background checks are required for all staff and volunteer leaders. “We don’t ask people to declare X, Y, or Z. It’s not in our makeup to have to define people like that. The Boy Scouts believes that to be gay is somehow immoral. That is not our feeling.”
The councils, (spokesperson) Christie-Ach added, are solely responsible for the hiring and training of staff, consistent with the national policies, but always, she says, subject to interpretation “depending on community norms.”
“Girl Scouts is not like McDonald’s,” she added, “The councils are not franchises. We allow Girl Scout councils to know best how to operate in their communities. That’s what our founder wanted.”
Fair enough. I look forward to enjoying some Shortbreads or new-fangled Lemonades with my tea. Plus, there’s just nothing better than discovering half of tube of frozen thin mints in July.
Entry filed under: My Favorite People, Uncategorized, Videos and Articles. Tags: Boy Scouts, Boy Scouts of America, Brownies, cookies, discrimination, food, gay, gay policy, Girl Scout Cookies, Girl Scouts of the USA, politics, thin mints.