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Society – Guide leaders axed over trans objections

November 2018

Guide leaders who objected to ‘transgender’ rules which permit men to join the organisation if they say they are women have been kicked out and their units shut down.

The guidelines, published in January 2017, also said boys could share tents, changing areas and shower facilities with the opposite sex if they say they are girls.

But Girlguiding says including people who identify as female to join or lead groups does not put girls at risk. ‘Keeping girls, young women and our adult volunteers safe is our number one priority’, the organisation said.

It added that an investigation found that the volunteers had breached the volunteer code of conduct and social media policy.

Ms Watts, who has a 15-year history with Girlguiding, told the BBC’s World at One programme in September that she was now banned from events and from contacting her group. She said that girls had a right to ‘female-only’ spaces, particularly when guides and leaders shared lavatories, showers and sleeping accommodation in camps.

She said adolescents coping with changes in their bodies, victims of bullying or harassment by men, and girls from some cultural or religious backgrounds might feel shut out if Girlguiding became ‘effectively a mixed-sex space’.

‘This isn’t one rogue girl guide leader, there are lots of us who are concerned about this’, she said. ‘It’s about putting girls at the centre and making sure that, if girls would prefer to have a single sex-space, they have that choice without the fear of themselves being labelled bigots’.

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