Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts are now LGBT-friendlier
Current Boy Scouts president and former C.I.A. Director Robert M. Gates firmly stated, at a recent summit in Atlanta, that if the present rules are not revised "any other alternative will be the end of us as a national movement.”
There is a spectrum of opinions on the matter, as many local troops are sponsored by religious organizations which do not allow gay members to participate. Others, however, are more liberal, such as a New York troop that recently employed its first gay troop leader. In 2013, 60% of members voted in favor of allowing any member entry regardless of sexual orientation of preference, but that did not include troop leaders at the time.
Although Mr. Gates calls for reform, he belives in honoring the religious freedom of chosen groups to adjust their policies as necessary. Other leaders such as Zach Wahls, director of Scouts for Equality, believe the open dialogue is a boon for definite change in the future, regardless of local opposition.
The Girl Scouts' Frequently Asked Questions page now states, "If the child is recognized by the family and school/community as a girl and lives culturally as a girl, then Girl Scouts is an organization that can serve her in a setting that is both emotionally and physically safe."
This is a statement that leaders such as Andrea Bastiani Archibald, the Girl Scouts USA's chief girl expert, believes has always been a part of their commitment to inclusivity. "Inclusion of transgender girls is handled at a council level on a case by case basis, with the welfare and best interests of all members as a top priority," she says.