Two girl guide leaders say they have been expelled from the organisation after opposing new “equality & diversity” rules which compel units to let transgender-identifying males share showers and other facilities with girls as young as five.
After 12 leaders signed an open letter warning that the new policy raised safeguarding concerns, Girlguiding UK removed two of its signatories, closing down their units, and has launched disciplinary investigations into “at least five Guide leaders”, according to the Sunday Times.
Published in the newspaper in April and signed by 224 guide leaders, parents, and former girl guides, the letter asserts that new ‘trans inclusion’ rules “[reinforce] gender stereotypes” and “[deny] informed parental consent” as well as putting girls’ safety and privacy at risk.
Signatories slammed the ban on telling parents their daughters would be sharing bedrooms and bathing facilities with individuals who are “physically male”, which is imposed by the policy, under which units must accept boys who identify as girls on camping trips and other activities.
Helen Watts, the leader of a Rainbows unit for girls aged 5 to 7 in London, learned on Friday that her membership of the organisation had been revoked after more than 15 years.
Parents Rebel Against Rules Allowing Boys and Men into Girl Guides Showers https://t.co/I3QWVL40pY
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) March 26, 2018
Girlguiding UK reportedly told Watts she was being expelled because she was “not willing to follow [the organisation’s] equality and diversity policy in so far as it provides for transgender inclusion”.
“I am very upset and I am also really angry. We had some serious concerns about a policy that ignored basic safeguarding principles,” the guide leader said.
She added: “The policy puts all leaders in a really difficult position. It contradicts other inclusion policies — for certain faith communities for instance — and it completely contradicts existing policies around informed parental consent.”
Another expelled leader, who is based in the northwest according to The Times, said she was forced to shut her unit down and told she was “not allowed to talk to the girls or their parents” following the organisation’s decision.
Reporting that she was removed for “refusing to follow Girlguiding procedures”, the leader said: “I told them I would follow any procedure unless it conflicted with the safety of a girl in my care.”
She was also accused of being disrespectful on social media, but said that the organisation had neglected to provide any examples of this, according to The Times, which reported that both women will pursue legal action if their expulsions are upheld.
Revolutionary Girl Guides Revamp Sees Home Skills Ditched for ‘Human Rights’ Campaigns https://t.co/tkHPNe2e1u
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) July 23, 2018
Commenting on the case, Girlguiding said: “Withdrawal of membership is always a last resort, but we take very seriously any breach of our volunteer code of conduct or policies.
“Following an independent investigation, two individuals were found to have breached our Volunteer Code of Conduct by indicating they are not willing to follow Girlguiding’s Equality and Diversity Policy; as well as breach our Social Media Policy.
“Girlguiding is for all girls, and that includes trans girls,” the organisation stressed, adding: “It is important that we find ways to discuss these issues in an environment of mutual respect and tolerance and keep the happiness and wellbeing of all girls and young women at the heart of this.”
Earlier this year Breitbart London reported on Girlguiding’s “revolutionary” overhaul, which saw badges like “home skills” and “musician” relating to traditional activities consigned to history.
Much of the new programme unveiled in July by the charity, which has been running since 1909, appears to have a distinctly political flavour, with badges introducing activities like creating “womanifestos”, analysing the media for “bias”, and “craftivism”, which is said to involve “crafting items that make a statement, advocate for change and challenge injustice”.