A 14 year old girl in Ventura, CA who has obviously been groomed by conservative parents is making a statement: boycott girl scout cookies because the Girl Scouts Of America are welcoming to transgender children who want to be scouts. Although she has another list of complaints surrounding the increasingly progressive nature of the Girl Scouts with their belief in a woman’s right to own her own body, learn about it, access health services, and make independent decisions regarding when to be a parents it’s the issue of trans inclusion that has her (and presumably her family, as she repeatedly mentions) riled up. In her video, she calls the girl scouts “dishonest and unfair” for including a 7 year old transgender girl into a troop and claims that this would disrupt the, “true all girl experience.”
Yeah, that’s some tired-ass transmisogynistic bullshit right there.
It’s not the first time that the Girl Scouts have come under fire from conservatives. Hans Zeiger, a young man who started to develop himself as an emerging conservative pundit when he was still a teenager, came under fire in his 2010 campaign for a 25th Legislative District of Washington seat for statements he made about the Girl Scouts in his adolescent years such as, “the Girl Scouts allow homosexuals and atheists to join their ranks, and they have become a pro-abortion, feminist training corps.” He pulled down his old work, made a formal statement that he did not stand by his old position any longer, and went on to win his campaign.
The 14 year old “founder” of the website Honest Girl Scouts calls up all those old ghosts but her video and campaign are exceptionally focused on transmisogyny. Although the website criticizes partnerships with Planned Parenthood and other more progressive policies, the project is dedicated primarily to maliciously excluding transgender children. More or less, the video is a teenage conservative’s rehashing of the “womyn born womyn” bullshit that comes out of the Michigan Women’s Music Festival. The 14 year old speaker in the video criticizes the girl scouts for not “confirming” the gender of a potential scout.
What the hell does it mean to “confirm the gender” of a 7 year old child? Where the fuck does that line of logic go? Does it require a note from your personal physician indicating the presence of a prepubescent pussy? A quick check by the scout leader before a camping trip? From where I stand, a child’s genitals are NOT THE BUSINESS OF A SCOUTING TROOP. Period. That comment alone is horrifying to me because of what implementing such a policy would even begin to entail.
The video goes on to equate a 7 year old transgender child with an 18 year old high school senior donning a dress and saying he wants to be girl scout in a deliberate attempt to sexualize the space as a man “pretending” to be a woman. It’s outright hateful and wholly irrational to equate a 7 year old child with an 18 year old high school senior wearing drag to violate women and it’s a straw man to boot. It’s a phantom, a fictional construction designed to inspire fear. First off, a 7 year old child is not “manipulating” the system as a way to get all kinds of “womyn born womyn” pussy. Secondly, even if the applicant were a high school senior trying to join the scouts, the risk of rape, assault, murder, harassment, and other violence that comes with being a transwoman in today’s society is already a pretty strong filter.
A policy of inclusion via identity is not a slippery slope for cisgender, heterosexual males to put on a dress and “use” the policy sneak in and violate women at will. That’s nonsense talk. That is what we call a logical fallacy and a bad faith tactic for debate. It’s just a way to derail a conversation and it wouldn’t be worth acknowledging at all save for the fact that this 100% contrived bullshit is so goddamn popular in the political arena right now. Grown-ass adults who cannot see past bigoted fiction should not be in charge of running our country. Marriage is NOT the most important issue facing sexual minorities but when Rick Santorum equated same-sex marriage to bestiality he exposed himself as someone who cannot be depended on for clear, rational, and intelligent thinking. Positing the notion that if a policy of inclusion based on gender identity rather than genital morphology will lead to quarterbacks donning drag and raping girl scouts with impunity is just as fucked up if not more so.
The you tube video created by the young woman calling for a total boycott of girl scout cookies until her hate issues are addressed is essentially a playbook of transmisogynistic commentary. The girl scouts have one simple policy for who gets to be a girl scout: being a girl between who is in kindergarten-12th grade. There’s also the huge class bias revealed in calling for a cookie boycott: those cookie sales make it possible to reduce the cost of GSA hosted camps and excursions for lower income scouts. In other words, not only is this a big FUCK YOU to trans folk it is also a big FUCK YOU to people of a lower income who rely on the GSA for the education, support, and opportunity to go explore the world it provides to their young daughters.
And frankly, even if the applicant were a teenage trans girl it still wouldn’t matter and that individual is still entitled to support. Our culture treats transwomen as lower than trash and the real world risk of unending bodily harm for coming out as trans is a pretty fucking strong goddamn filter. It’s totally disingenuous to state that accepting someone’s preferred gender identity means that “just anyone could claim they ‘want’ to be a girl.” The GSA has stated that they are responding to an increasing number of requests from transgender children with a warm welcome and what I would really like to see as a part of that response is strong support for transwomen who step up to be girl scout leaders, as well. It’s not about “allowing” transgender children into the scouts, it’s also about transgender women leading them.
Human beings have roughly 20-25,000 known genes. These are the ingredients for making a human and with 20-25,000 different ingredients, there are a metric fuck ton (that’s a scientific term, of course) of recipes to make a human being and they are all legitimate. It is often said we all “start” as female but this is not accurate. We don’t all start out with a pussy, we start out with a genital tubercle that develops as the genetic, chromosomal, and hormonal sequences unfold themselves. To put morphology (what you physically see on the outside) before gender is to literally put the cart in front of the horse. In fact, hormone washes and changes have the ability to reshape the morphology of the flesh between our legs even after puberty.
No, we do not all start as ‘female’ but we are all made out of the same “star stuff” and we’re just beginning to understand what that means.
And since there was a comment that admitting transgender children into the GSA “almost dangerous situation for children,” I would like to spend a moment talking about other venues that create an “almost dangerous” situation for children: school, church, playgrounds, day care, museums, camps, sports teams, locker rooms, and any place where a child is with someone that they know. When gender and sexuality are framed as something that belong to grownups like parents, teachers, clergy, or sexual partners it becomes much harder to internalize the notion that you make the final call about who does or does not touch you and that you have a right to fuck shit up for anyone who thinks they are entitled to it.
The GSA programming includes having conversations where questions are answered in age-appropriate but honest ways. Children have a right to know how their bodies work and teaching them that their body is their own is not what is confusing. Telling children that their body belongs to anyone with the means to take it (especially sky daddies) is what’s exceptionally confusing because it’s insane. Yes, the GSA programming teaches young women that they are the sole owners of their bodies. It helps provide information on how it works by partnering with recognized and accredited medical institutions, it teaches them that no matter what someone says it’s their call what they do or don’t do with their bodies.
This video and it’s accompanying webpage demonstrate transmisogyny very well: teaching bodily autonomy to women is bad but it’s worse to teach bodily autonomy to a trans woman or girl.
The GSA has been moving towards a more progressive stance on gender at a pace faster than any other self-identified feminist space. Although they aren’t perfect, I respect the Girl Scouts for listening to the people they serve more than they listen to the mainstream feminist establishment especially since they’ve had branches of their national organization that first began recognizing that gender is more than male/female since the early and mid-90s before the blogsophere was an established anti-oppression tool.
And this is the place where I start making people uncomfortable:
To the adults behind this campaign and especially to the parents of Taylor, the 14 year old girl behind this video, you better fucking hope that the Girl Scouts and the Boy Scouts and the schools and the average American household starts accepting non-gender normative kids. Some bigots will not let go of their male/female fiction until it is pulled out of their cold dead fingers and there are revolutionaries who are prepared to accept those conditions and they are supported by a growing number of allies who are willing to follow direction and aid the process because they recognize that their own liberation is tied up in the struggle as well.
The Girl Scouts are not a radical organization. I would say that they are progressive but they are not, in fact, creating an anti-oppression militia. They’re pretty passive but it’s not uncommon to see self-defense anti-abuse classes taught to even the littlest girl scout. At best, they’re starting to create a space where young queer, gender queer, and transgender kids can go and not be brutalized. There are radicals out there, though. Some might be in your community already and they have these new fangled tools that allow them to network, support, and cross-educate one another. When people do find their support network and have the opportunity to develop the confidence and self-esteem to defend themselves, they will.
So allow me to repeat myself: you better fucking hope that it’s the Girl Scouts who welcome marginalized children and actively implement policies and leaders who can fully support them because the Girl Scouts won’t teach you how to make a Molotov cocktail.
When you teach hate, what you’re teaching children is how to ignore, deny, and invisibilize the reality of our world and and the people who live in it. When you teach your children that they can act as the owner of someone else’s body, you have taught them a dangerous delusion. There is a human survival instinct and when you tell your children it’s OK to run around and start fucking with that they run the risk of touching the wrong button someday and those odds are going up with each passing moment. Although we convey a message of non-humanity to transgender/gender queer/intersex/non-gender normative humans, the truth is getting out there one tweet and blog post at a time.
When you go out of your way to fuck with people, systemically dehumanize them, rip out their support networks, and threaten their lives at a time when they can quickly and effectively organize, you’re creating something of a problem, especially if you make the police and criminal justice system wholly inaccessible to them as anything but a defendant. In that context, you have left those you’ve fucked with no other option.
If you raise a child to think that they can do whatever the fuck they want to do to someone so long as their victim looks less like Barbie or Ken than they do, you are setting them up to have their entitled ass handed right fucking back to them. If you raise a child to make it clear that no amount of logic, reason, or words will ever change their minds that marginalized people are worth less than they are and your child acts on those delusions, you are raising a future target for justified violence in the form of self-defense.
Something to think about.