US Girl Scouts group returns $100k cheque to 'anti-transgender' donor
A US Girl Scouts group has returned a $100,000 cheque after the donor wanted an assurance that the money would not be used to support transgender girls. The Girl Scouts of Western Washington had at first been "thrilled" to receive such a sizeable donation.
But then they received a letter in which the donor stipulated that the money could not be spent on transgender youths.
Megan Ferland, chief executive, said returning the money was "one of the easiest decisions I've had to make. It was a sad decision, but a really quick one," she added. Ms Ferland said while not many participants in their programmes are transgender, it was the principle of the matter which made the decision so straightforward.
"Girl Scouts is for every girl. It always has been and always will be," she said. "I could not be put in a position where I would have to turn girls away."
Girl Scouts USA, the national organisation, has faced a backlash from conservative groups over its decision earlier this year to allow transgender girls.
The American Family Association circulated a petition in May arguing that only "biological girls" should be allowed to participate. "Boys in skirts, boys in make-up and boys in tents will become a part of the programme," the petition read. "This change will put young innocent girls at risk."
The policy which caused the furore states that "placement of transgender youth is handled on a case-by-case basis".
"If a child is recognised by the family and school/community as a girl and lives culturally as a girl, then Girl Scouts is an organisation that can serve her in setting that is both emotionally and physically safe," it said.
As for the Western Washington affiliate, they have now raised over $248,000 through a crowdfunding campaign launched just after they rejected the donation.