Bullied transgender Girl Scout sparks widespread support (and cookie sales)

A 9-year-old Girl Scout in Illinois stood up to a bully in her neighborhood, and helped more than just her troop in the process.

Mike Staugaitis/The News-Item/AP/File
Cases of Thin Mints are stacked five high and three deep along the wall of Lourdes' cafeteria in Coal Township, Pa. in this file photo taken Feb. 13, 2013,

One door closed, and hundreds more opened for a 9-year-old Girl Scout who was turned away while selling cookies.

Three blocks from home, Stormi, who is transgender, knocked on a door in Herrin, Ill., ready to make her pitch. She was turned away and told, “Nobody wants to buy cookies from a boy in a dress.”

“It made me sad,” Stormi told BuzzFeed News. “Because I’m a girl.”

But soon she figured out a way to stand down her bully – and sell thousands of boxes of cookies in the process.

Last week, Stormi launched her own sales page through the Girl Scouts’ online portal, Digital Cookie.

Stormi's foster mother, Kim, shared the negative experience and Stormi's page on an online discussion board for parents of transgender kids, Buzzfeed reports. The public response was swift and supportive for Stormi.

An improv duo in New York City offered Stormi's customers free admission to a show if they showed proof of purchase, and a musical in California planned to donate a box for every ticket sold.

An Idaho-based LGBTQ support group joined in Stormi's campaign, too, The Washington Post reports. “While out selling cookies,” a member from Idaho Falls's Gender Community wrote, Stormi “was met with negativity, no orders, and even one less than kind person.… As a parent, this made me angry. As a parent of transgender children, this made me livid! I’m ordering all of my cookies from Stormi!”

On Twitter, users fundraised on Stormi's behalf:

Stormi's foster mother told Buzzfeed that orders came in from Canada and as far away as Australia, and they received dozens of letters of support. The Idaho group reported on January 31 that Stormi had already sold more than 3,000 boxes of cookies.

This is not the first time Girl Scouts of USA has fought for scouts facing transgender discrimination.

In July of last year, Girl Scouts of Western Washington received a $100,000 donation — with one big string attached. The donor wrote in a letter: "Please guarantee that our gift will not be used to support transgender girls. If you can’t, please return the money." 

The group quickly returned the check.

The Western Washington Girl Scouts Council, which counts more than 25,000 active members across 17 counties, wanted to recoup the lost funds. Their online marketing manager launched a crowd-funding campaign on IndieGoGo to "Help us raise back the $100,000 a donor asked us to return because we welcome transgender girls."

Within three days, #ForEVERYGirl had raised more than $330,000 from 7,000 supporters.

Transgender adults and parents of transgender children thanked the organization on the fundraising page. 

"My children grew up in Girl Scouts and are both lifetime members. One of my daughters is now my son. Girl Scouts helped tremendously in those years when he was a girl, struggling to understand who she was," wrote Marcia McLaughlin, a campaign supporter.

Stormi wrote on her own fundraising page that proceeds from her cookie sales will go toward sending her troop on trips and funding a personal goal: “I have my own plans as well. At my request my family will donate boxes to local foster kids like me!

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