Girl and Boy Scouts’ Blurred Lines on Sex Admissions Lead to Legal Battle

scouting for boys and girls
Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

The Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts are battling for new members following their separate decisions to give up their single-sex status, and also to recruit boys and girls who say they are transgender.

The BBC reported on the legal battle that emerged since the Boy Scouts dropped the word “Boy” from its name to allow girls to join troops:

A recruitment drive by the Boy Scouts of America is proving “highly damaging” to the Girl Scouts, lawyers acting for the latter organization say. The “infringement” meant many parents mistakenly signed their daughters up for Boy Scouts, thinking it was Girl Scouts, lawyers said. In response, the Boy Scouts accused the Girl Scouts of starting a “ground war.”

Last month, lawyers acting on behalf of the Boy Scouts asked a judge to throw out the lawsuit, which suggested it could not use “scouts” or “scouting” in its recruitment material for girls. 

In the latest filing at the Manhattan federal court on Christmas Eve, the Girl Scouts described the new recruitment program as “highly damaging” to its organization, having caused an “explosion of confusion” among parents.

“As a result of Boy Scouts’ infringement… [there have been] rampant instances of confusion and mistaken instances of association between Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts,” the court papers stated.

“In a statement released on Saturday, the Boy Scouts said this was ‘not only inaccurate – with no legally admissible instance of this offered to date in the case – but it is also dismissive of the decisions of more than 120,000 girls and young women who have joined Cub Scouts or Scouts BSA,'” BBC reported.

The tussle between the two scouting organizations garnered a tweet from the feminist group Women’s Liberation Front or WoLF.

“Bizarre behavior from the Girl Scouts, who’ve been admitting trans-identified boys for years,” the tweet said.

In fact, according to the Girl Scout website, boys who want to live as girls have been admitted to troops dating back at least as far as 2012.

The Frequently Asked Question on its website asks: What is Girl Scouts’ position on serving transgender youth?

Girl Scouts is proud to be the premiere leadership organization for girls in the country. Placement of transgender youth is handled on a case-by-case basis, with the welfare and best interests of the child and the members of the troop/group in question a top priority. That said, 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.

In a 2015 CNN report, a Girl Scout official wrote about the organization’s effort to “advance diversity and promote tolerance.”

“Our mission to build ‘girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place’ extends to all members, and through our program, girls develop the necessary leadership skills to advance diversity and promote tolerance,” Andrea Bastiani Archibald, the Girl Scouts USA’s chief girl expert, wrote in a blog.

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