The Girl Scouts Just Stood up for Trans Rights in the Best Way

June 30th 2015

Laura Donovan

The Girl Scouts of Western Washington could do a lot with a $100,000 donation, such as send 500 members to camp and cover nearly a quarter of the council's annual fundraising goal. But CEO Megan Ferland felt compelled to turn down a donation of $100,000, as the donor did not want any of the funds to go towards transgender girl scouts.

"Please guarantee that our gift will not be used to support transgender girls," read the request, which was obtained by The Seattle Met. "If you can’t, please return the money."

This note comes in the aftermath of Caitlyn Jenner's highly publicized interview with ABC News' Diane Sawyer and shortly before the Olympic athlete made her worldwide debut on the cover of Vanity Fair magazine for its July 2015 issue. It also came after the Girl Scouts of America publicly stood behind its inclusive transgender policy in the wake of a petition by Christian nonprofit the American Family Association protesting the policy.

Ferland told The Met that she declined the donor's offer, saying "the relationship is complex" between the organization and the individual.

“Girl Scouts is for every girl,” Ferland said. “And every girl should have the opportunity to be a Girl Scout if she wants to.”

Luckily for the Girl Scouts of Western Washington, their IndieGogo campaign to raise the $100,000 lost as a result of returning the donor's money has been wildly successful and raised nearly $110,000.

“We’re so profoundly grateful that Girl Scouts of Western Washington are standing by their values to support all girls,” executive director Danni Askini told the Seattle Met. “It’s also mortifying that the donor withdrew this funding. It’s a clear example of how much bias and prejudice against transgender people still exists in our society ... [T]he thing about Girl Scouts that’s so vital to all girls is that it’s about creating community and ending isolation.”


Several years ago, the GSUSA made headlines when a Denver troop refused to allow 7-year-old trans child Bobby Montoya to become a member. The Girl Scouts of Colorado eventually welcomed the child into the troop, but three troop leaders in Louisiana were so put off by Montoya's acceptance that they abandoned their troops altogether, with one mom saying the child's inclusion would create an "almost dangerous situation" for the other troop members.

Andrea Bastiani Archibald, a "Chief Girl Expert" for the GSUSA, told CNN in May that the GSUSA will always prioritize its girls and not those who wish to disparage the organization.

"Luckily, we don't serve our critics. We are proud to serve all girls," she said.