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  WINDY CITY TIMES

Transgender controversy with Girl Scout troops
by Ross Forman, Windy City Times
2012-01-18

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Girl Scout cookies have already caused a firestorm long before the first Thin Mints, Samoas or Peanut Butter Patties have been eaten this year.

CNN reported that the website HonestGirlScouts.com features a YouTube video calling for a boycott of Girl Scout cookies in response to a Colorado troop's decision to allow a 7-year-old transgender child into its troop. LGBT-rights groups have reported a grassroots movement of supporters buying Girl Scout cookies in response to the video.

The video was prompted by the case of Bobby Montoya, whose mother told a CNN affiliate in October that a troop leader initially told her that Bobby could not join the troop because Bobby "has boy parts," even though her child identifies as a girl.

The Girl Scouts of Colorado blamed the initial decision to exclude the child on ignorance of the Scouts' policy. "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," said the Colorado Girl Scouts, in a statement to a CNN affiliate.

In the YouTube video, 14-year-old "Taylor" speaks out against Girl Scouts' acceptance of transgender boys.

Shanna Katz, a Denver resident and former Girl Scout, spearheaded an online campaign with Heidi Anderson to buy cookies from Montoya, although their drive halted when the Girl Scouts of Colorado said that Bobby is no longer interested in being a Girl Scout.

"However, they have reinforced their inclusivity statement, and I suggest we take this social networking power and use it to support the [Girl Scouts of America]," Katz wrote on Facebook. "Heidi and I came up with an idea; what if we all bought a [lot] [Girl Scouts] cookies from Bobby and [her] troop, showing our support, while allowing them to have the most successful cookie season in Colorado, maybe in the U.S."

Katz was a Girl Scout for years and recalled that the group stresses "open mindedness, tolerance, and acceptance of difference."

"Basically, as a Colorado resident who believes in equality, I've followed the story of Bobby Montoya since there was the issue of Bobby being allowed in the troop," Katz emailed Windy City Times. "I was ecstatic when [Girl Scouts of America] published their inclusitivity policy, and welcomed Bobby back into their troop. I was sad when troops across the country disbanded in reaction to this act of acceptance of all girls, but it was this recent YouTube video, from 'Taylor' that caught my attention.

"For someone who calls herself a Girl Scout to call [for] a message of hatred, and promote this boycott based on the Girl Scouts of America policy of inclusion, well, it was just time to do something. My friend Heidi posted Taylor's video, and mentioned that it would be nice if we could make Bobby the number-one seller in the U.S., to show our support and boycott the boycott. Both of us emailed the Girl Scouts of Colorado offices, and I started the event on Facebook to bring attention to it.

"I've decided to purchase as many boxes as my modest budget will allow and donate them to the local LGBTQ community center," Mara Morken, a lesbian stay-at-home mom in Fargo, N.D., told CNN. "I want to show support for GSUSA in their honorable decision to allow all girls to participate in their programs. However, I do not want that support to show itself on my thighs, so I will donate the entire cookie order."

The furor over Taylor's video has led to several video replies, such as one from a younger Girl Scout named Emma who stated she is "proud to support LGBT kids."


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