Girl Scouts Stand up to Right-Wing Criticism of Transgender Members

While the organization has welcomed transgender girls for years, conservative groups chose this month to protest the policy.

It’s springtime, historically the prime cookie season for the Girl Scouts of the USA. But the organization came under intense scrutiny for a different reason this month, when a group of conservative religious groups discovered that the Girl Scouts welcome transgender girls. Attacks have run the gamut from the paranoid to the vicious (“Boys in skirts . . . will put young innocent girls at risk!” read a popular petition , clearly anxious about the dangers of “skirts”), but the Scouts have adamantly held their position.

After the American Family Association encouraged the Scouts to “restrict its youth membership only to biological girls.” Andrea Bastiani Archibald, Girl Scouts USA chief girl expert, responded in a blogpost : “There is not one type of girl. Every girl’s sense of self, path to it, and how she is supported is unique.”

While the national organization can offer guidance to local councils, they can’t force them to embrace everybody. But the change is significant, and it appears that the Boy Scouts have taken a cue from their affiliate organization, with President Robert M. Gates calling for the end to the ban on gay leaders on Thursday. Both developments are welcome and historic. As Archibald told CNN, “We are proud to serve all girls.”