Back in the late 70s in my hometown of Philadelphia, I worked for the national office of a program called Green Circle. Started by Gladys Rawlins, an African American teacher in the Philly school system, it was designed to help kids deal with human differences in a positive way.
The national office made the program available to groups throughout the country that wanted to offer it to kids. They would buy the materials from us and use our training manual to bring their people up to speed on how to present the program.
The Green Circle presentation focused on a creature named Churkendoose, who was part chicken, turkey, duck and goose. Being so unusual, he was, of course, ridiculed and bullied mercilessly in the barnyard by the other animals. Don’t worry, the story has a happy ending: the other animals eventually came to accept the Churkendoose for who he was.
One of the leading sponsors of Green Circle was the Girl Scouts. Troops throughout the country regularly spread the message about the Churkendoose to all of their members. Even when we added sexual orientation to the list of differences (race, ethnicity, age, culture, religion, etc.) that we talked about in our presentation, they stuck with us. The non-Girl Scout group in Utah dropped us when we started discussing LGBT folks as part of the human family, but not the Girl Scouts.
Judging by a recent story in the news, the Girl Scouts are still living the message of Green Circle.
According to CNN, Girl Scouts of Colorado have accepted a 7-year-old transgender girl into their ranks, after initially rejecting her. The rejection, they said, was a mistake. "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," the group said in a truly amazing statement.
Of course, not all Girl Scouts are happy about the decision. A group calling itself HonestGirlScouts.com has produced a video blasting the Colorado Girl Scouts for accepting young Bobby Montoya. They are starting a boycott of the very thing that Girl Scouts are most known for.
"I ask all fellow Girl Scouts who want a true, all-girl experience not to sell any Girl Scouts cookies until GSUSA (Girl Scouts of the USA) addresses our concerns," said a girl who identifies herself only as Taylor. She supposedly lives in California. "I ask all parents who want their girls to be in a safe environment to tell their leaders why you will not allow your girls to make any more money for GSUSA."
A counter boycott effort has been launched by LGBT organizations.
I usually ignore the Girl Scouts selling their wares in my Castro neighborhood. I’m vegan, and the cookies have sugar, palm oil and dairy products in them. But this year I will buy some and give them to my friends and co-workers.
It’s the least I can do to say thanks to the Colorado Girl Scouts for doing the right thing.