Scouts earn U-turn badge after scrapping trans policy by Andrew Gillingham in The Times 26.05.19

The original article is here.

The Scouts have done a U-turn on a transgender policy that members said put young people’s safety at risk.

The policy, which was published only 18 months ago and triggered protests — one MP called it “madness” — has been substantially changed. Advice that scout leaders should not call children “boys or girls” has been scrapped.

The organisation, which accepts boys and girls of all ages, has also rescinded advice that a child’s gender transition must be treated with “complete confidentiality”, including being kept from parents. The guidance now says such information should be shared with families or the authorities if there are welfare concerns.

The Scouts’ equal opportunities policy has also been revised to include the category of sex, previously omitted in favour of “gender identity”.

Most references to the transgender lobby group Mermaids, which has been accused of promoting misinformation, and which helped produce the old transgender policy, have been removed.

The policies were rewritten after complaints by leaders and members. In letters seen by this newspaper, they said the policy was “inappropriate and dangerous” and that it told leaders to “ignore normal safeguarding”.

Linda Bellos, a feminist who was one of the Scouts’ advisers, said: “They could see they had made a mistake — they had missed out anything to do with women. They seem to have heard the arguments put to them and I’m very pleased.”

A representative of the Scout Association, whose Chief Scout is the explorer Bear Grylls, said: “We regularly review our policies and guidance to ensure they are clear and up-to-date. We have worked with members of the trans and feminist communities to update our guidance. We want to ensure we offer the best support.”


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