It’s a momentous day for Girlguides. For the first time in the group’s 107-year-history transgender children and leaders will be welcomed into the organisation.
In a move to support anyone who identifies as a girl or woman, new guidelines from Girlguiding have been sent out to all leaders stating that children from the age of five can join Rainbows, Brownies and Girl Guides if they identify as female.
Previously transgender children have been able to attend Girlguiding, but parents would have had to speak to leaders on an individual basis. This is the first time the organisation has created an official policy on the subject.
Transgender women will also be able to take up leadership roles including the esteemed role of Brown Owl.
“Girlguiding aims to support all girls and young women,” the new guidelines state. “This is understood in terms of the way a person self-identifies their gender identity – a person’s inner sense of self.”
“If a child or young person self-identifies as a girl or young woman then they are able to join any of our youth sections appropriate to their age,” the document continues.
The organisation has also committed to supporting any existing members who may be transitioning from female to male.
“We understand that if a young member is transitioning from female to male that they will be experiencing a great amount of change and uncertainty,” the guidelines say.
“Flexibility and the Leaders’ discretion in conversation with the parents must be used to determine how long the child stays within the unit.”
Ever since it was formed in 1910, the Guides has been a purely single-sex organisation, until now that is.
Chief executive of Girlguiding Julie Bentley said the new guidelines brought the organisation in line with the Equality Act, which says individuals should be treated according to their “acquired gender”.
“Girlguiding complies with the requirements of the Equality Act 2010 which makes clear that organisations providing single-sex services such as Girlguiding should treat people according to their acquired gender,” she said in a statement given to Huffington Post UK.
“As such, and in line with our values of inclusion, we welcome any young person who self-identifies as a girl or young woman.”
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