Ban for Girl Guides who identify as boys by Lucy Bannerman in the Times 27.09.18

The original article is here.

Girls who self-identify as boys are to be asked to leave the Girl Guides in a move that has been lambasted by parents and guide leaders as “cruel, unfair and appallingly hypocritical”.

The organisation has recently broken with years of tradition as a single-sex movement to welcome boys who identify as female as part of its controversial “transgender inclusion” policy.

It says it sees no problem with allowing biological males to join girls on camping trips and share showering and changing facilities, insisting that “Girlguiding is for all girls, and that includes trans girls”.

The Times can reveal that the same policy advocates the exclusion of girls who say they are transgender. Those who identify as male or “non-binary” will be discouraged from joining the Guides, while those who are already guides and have taken the “Promise” — the Guides’ oath of allegiance — will be asked to leave, the charity confirmed.

“Girlguiding is for girls and therefore we expect a young person who identifies as male wouldn’t look to join,” the charity said.“We would expect a trans boy [a biological female] to move on from guiding at a time that is right for them and we would support their leader to ensure that their move out of guiding is done sensitively and at a pace that suits the young person.

“Guiding will be an important support network for them and we would want to ensure that the process of leaving is done through conversation with the young person and planning what is most appropriate for them.”

Women who identify as male will also be forbidden from taking any adult role that requires them to make the Promise. The policy, which was written with the help of the transgender interest group Gendered Intelligence, has angered parents and guide leaders, who accused Girlguiding of double standards.

Carrie Wheeler, 37, a Guiding leader for five years and a mother of four whose own daughters have joined the movement, said that the policy was appalling. “If Jenny Smith says she wants to be known as Joe Smith, they’re saying, ‘we don’t want you’. That’s so cruel and very, very unfair,” she said. “It’s also really hypocritical. At a time when that girl is so vulnerable, trying to work out who she is, and who she wants to be, they’re just going to pull the whole rug out from underneath her?

“I feel so sorry for the leaders and the parents who are going to have to enforce that, because it won’t be London HQ telling her she’s no longer welcome and that she can’t join her guide friends anymore. It will fall to us.”

Sarah West, 59, a guide leader in Shropshire who has been involved with Girlguiding since she was a child, said: “I feel angry and betrayed. We’ve always been there for girls and young women. Now we’re being told, no, that’s not what’s important anymore. There’s a new type of girl who’s more important and these [trans] females are more important that the rest of the girls who may feel embarrassed about sharing tents or who may be anxious about their own identity. It’s disgraceful.”

Girlguiding recently faced criticism for expelling two guide leaders who claimed that the new transgender policy contradicted elements of their safeguarding duties. The women questioned why boys who identify as transgender must be treated differently from the sons of guide leaders.

A Girlguiding spokeswoman said: “We’ve had advice from Stonewall and Gendered Intelligence and continue to review our policy as new guidance and best practice emerges.”