The largest girls-only organisation in Britain is allowing trans children to join its ranks – and has been attacked for it.
Girlguiding, which has been empowering girls and women for 107 years through adventure and community activities, made the announcement in its wonderfully inclusive trans guidance.
The document states that trans girls should be enabled to use the same dorm rooms, toilets and changing areas as other girls.
And if trans Guides don’t want to, they be should provided with separate spaces, the guidance continues.
It is also states, in bold, that “it is not a requirement – or best practice – to tell parents that a trans person will be attending a residential event.”
The group explained to PinkNews that the policy was updated in January – with no issues, seemingly – but the changes have been attacked by media outlets this week.
In its report, The Mail on Sunday quoted Conservative MP David Davies, who has previously called trans women “he/she” and said they should use men’s bathrooms.
Davies told the newspaper: “If transgender girls who are physically male are going to be sharing facilities, it’s going to make some girls threatened and uncomfortable”.
The publication also spoke to Julie Bindel, a controversial feminist who has in the past accused a “trans cabal” of “running a witch hunt” against activists like herself.
She warned of “boys invading bedrooms, tents and showers” at Girlguiding events, adding that “this signifies the end to girl-only space and the safety of girls in single-sex organisations.”
The Evening Standard referred to trans girls as “transgender boys,” which is of course incorrect.
It has also stated, vaguely, that “there are some concerns that sharing facilities could make girls feel uncomfortable.”
Girlguiding did not want to provide comment in reaction to this coverage, but did give PinkNews a statement about the guidance, which affects five to 25-year-olds.
Julie Bentley, the organisation’s chief executive, said that her group was simply following the law.
“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.
“As such, and in line with our values of inclusion, we welcome any young person who self-identifies as a girl or young woman.
“If a young person doesn’t feel comfortable sharing accommodation, for whatever reason, we encourage them to talk to their leader about alternative accommodation and facilities,” Bentley added.
“More private areas for changing can be made available to any young member who requests it.
“We also provide guidance for our leaders to help them when handling sensitive issues.”