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Victoria Derbyshire today and Girlguides

(609 Posts)
AgnesBadenPowell Mon 05-Mar-18 19:29:55

Did anyone see Victoria Derbyshire on BBC2 this morning? Interesting discussion about transgender people and self ID. One of the speakers mentioned Girlguiding, which caught my attention as I am a Leader and I’ve had similar concerns but few people to discuss it with IRL.

You might have seen the press coverage (and threads here) about the changes to Girlguiding UK’s policy on inclusivity for transgender members

As a leader it’s my duty to implement the policy. I also have a duty of care to the girls in my unit. I’ve thought long and hard about this and in my view, GG has got it wrong.

GGUK recognises gender self identity, which is “a person’s inner sense of being a girl or a woman”. A male child who identifies as a girl can enroll as a rainbow, brownie, guide or ranger and a male who identifies as a woman can make the Guide promise and become a leader. Leadership roles have historically been women only (although men can volunteer for support roles that don’t need the promise and aren’t in charge of units).

The policy states that transgender children should use the accommodation of their acquired gender on camp. Parents of other children should not be informed - leaders are told it is neither required or best practice. Remember that Guiding also permits adult leaders (including men who identify as women) to share accommodation with children; it’s not the preferred option and at least 2 adults should always be present in the tent or guide hut but it does happen.

I have written to GGUK to outline my concerns:

1. the policy allows, for example, a 14 yo biological male Guide to share sleeping accommodation with a 10 year old female Guide.NSPCC advice is that children over 10 do not share a bedroom with the opposite sex. It’s not unreasonable for parents to expect GG to follow this advice. Why aren’t we?

2. The policy does not acknowledge the embarrassment a teen may feel when dealing with periods, washing and bathing in shared facilities with a person they may have known as a boy.

3. The policy is focused on the needs of the transchild and their preferences. As a Leader I have a duty to all children in my care and must balance each of their needs. Only in reference to changing clothes does the policy state that all children should be offered a more private place to change if desired, otherwise transchildren chose what facilities they use with no reference to their fellow guides.

4. If GG cannot guarantee truly single sex accommodation then some girls will miss out on residentials, eg girls from certain religious groups, those who have been subjected to abuse or who just don’t want to. This is against GG’s inclusive ethos

So far GG has responded with (template?) emails to say that GG has always been a single gender organisation, gender identity (as defined above) is recognised as separate from biological sex and Leaders should refer concerned parents to the higher ups.

Today’s TV show made me wonder how many people really understand the implications of the policy and have similar concerns. Leaders can't discuss other children with parents (rightIy so) but that means parents can't give informed consent to their child sharing mixed sex facilities. I'd like to gauge the feeling of parents but it's a sensitive issue and not something that I can just ask my girls’ parents. Perhaps you think I am over reacting. Perhaps you share my concerns. Either way, I’d like to know.

Finally, I should add that I’m not trying to have transgirls removed from GG. Neither do I think all men/boys are potential sex offenders. But I do owe it to the parents and children in my care to have assessed all the risks thoroughly. My point is that this policy poses a risk, which doesn't appear to be recognised by GG and Leaders aren't being advised how to manage it.

I do have to pop out for a bit now but will come back later, if anyone replies!

ShirtTieJacket Mon 05-Mar-18 19:39:42

Thank you. The children in your care sound safe.

Datun Mon 05-Mar-18 19:41:03

So are you saying they don't do a risk assessment, on the basis they don't consider it a risk?

14-year-old boys are sharing a tent with 10-year-old girls?

ferntwist Mon 05-Mar-18 19:43:04

Terrible policy! No boys should be sharing with girls however they identify. Why is Girlguiding going along with this madness?

ferntwist Mon 05-Mar-18 19:44:04

Sorry but ‘transgirls’ should not be in Guides or Brownies. There’s no such thing as ‘trans’ children, let’s be honest. Let kids be kids!

ChampiontheWonderHamster Mon 05-Mar-18 19:44:34

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

OvaHere Mon 05-Mar-18 19:46:32

You are correct in your concerns OP. The push for organisations to be 'inclusive' is throwing all the safeguarding advice and expertise that has built up over decades right out of the window.

It may (or may not) take a while but eventually at least one young girl somewhere will be assaulted on one of these sleepovers when a school or GG type organisation is in loco parentis.

I can imagine the reaction of the parents when they discover their daughter was placed in accommodation with the opposite sex and they were deliberately not told about it.

The whole thing is a huge shitstorm waiting to happen.

Lemonjello Mon 05-Mar-18 19:47:47

I absolutely would raise it with the parents of your girls. Many of them will have no idea about it. I’m certain you can find a way to raise it sensitively and from a perspective of safeguarding their children, because that’s exactly what you have managed to do in your post here.

Your point about the GG contravening the NSPCC advice is excellent and I would press the leaders on that.

SemaMjinga Mon 05-Mar-18 19:49:34

Yes, i am a parent of a Brownie and i am worried about this. The thing that stands out for me is tgat the girls and the parents WONT BE TOLD, if they will be sharing accomodation and facilities with boys. It is therefore IMPOSSIBLE to do a risk assessment, because as leaders you will not have all the information about all the girls, that the parents have.

This policy removes the ability of girls and parents to give INFORMED CONSENT. Why do the boys get to decide who they feel comfortable and safe with; but that consideration isnt extended to the girls....who the organisation is supposedly for?!?!?

LangCleg Mon 05-Mar-18 19:50:07

WTF are the Guides going to do when the first tween comes home from camp pregnant?

I mean, at that point, who's going to care that a pair of kids are going BUT WE'RE LESBIANS?

Boxesandbuttons Mon 05-Mar-18 19:50:07

I believe you are correct, others will know the detail. Could we start a collection of templates (such as your points above) for others to use with their guides/scouts/similar organisations?

Acopyofacopy Mon 05-Mar-18 19:51:05

As a parent I would not be ok with my teen daughter sharing a tent with a teen boy or a male leader.
I would be absolutely furious if I would not be informed about “self identifying” girls/women being part of the group.

I think you’re right, OP. GG has not thought this through properly.

SemaMjinga Mon 05-Mar-18 19:52:48

No lemon our leader confirmed that she would be unable to inform me that a trans member would be present on trips; or she would be in breach if policy. I contacted GG HQ and they doubled down...they would not disclose that information, to protect the privacy of the trans member

SemaMjinga Mon 05-Mar-18 19:56:04

boxes i believe that scouts DO take mixed groups away. The diffetence is that the members and their parents are all aware of accomodation arrangements before hand. So parents can ask questions, make informed parental choices in the best interest of their children. With the GG and this policy.....they are WITH-HOLDING information from girls and parents

And expecting leaders to deal with the fall-out, if it becomes an issue on a trip??

drspouse Mon 05-Mar-18 19:59:32

@AgnesBadenPowell can you comment on my thread on this board if you have anything to add?
I'm going to ask GG a few questions.
Scouting take mixed groups away but they have separate accommodation.

PieceOfPaper Mon 05-Mar-18 20:00:13

I've PM'd you (hope that's ok)

UpstartCrow Mon 05-Mar-18 20:00:14

Thank you for confirming that Leaders stay in the tent with the children. On other threads people have insisted that is not the case.

I think it may be illegal to out people as being trans, if they have a GRC. That may be why the GG say they won't discuss a trans persons identity with the parents - but that would only apply to Leaders who have transitioned, as children cannot obtain a GRC.

LifelongVaginaOwner Mon 05-Mar-18 20:02:11

I'm cooking tea, but just quickly. I also think that the safeguarding of the young TiMs is being overlooked here too.

drspouse Mon 05-Mar-18 20:03:10

our leader confirmed that she would be unable to inform me that a trans member would be present on trips;

I've posted a new thread on this but they are saying that members can request separate accommodation and I would be wanting to do this in this situation.
Also we'd have a record of biological sex for DBS purposes.

Boxesandbuttons Mon 05-Mar-18 20:04:27

Lifelong really really important point.

drspouse Mon 05-Mar-18 20:04:50

LIfe-long again if you have chapter and verse can you take a look at my other thread?
I'll try to post a link but I'm on the app.

drspouse Mon 05-Mar-18 20:06:02

Here's my post

womanhuman Mon 05-Mar-18 20:09:39

agnes, you’re exactly right. I worry about it a lot whilst hoping it somehow won’t directly affect us.

I think GG are completely misguided here.

Theswaggyotter Mon 05-Mar-18 20:10:09

I think it’s a terrible policy change and have decided that my dd will not go to rainbows on account of this. She will go to beavers where they have policies in place to ensure same sex kids sleeping areas / toilets etc

Sittinonthefloor Mon 05-Mar-18 20:12:27

I've been pondering this. IMO safeguarding is the most important thing so I'd break GG rules and either tell parents any way or insist that the boy had seperate accommodation. I'd have to put girls right to privacy / safety (and indeed protect myself from accusations) over GG rules in this case. Or I'd stop doing trips sad.
OP - I think your letter ideas are great, it seems to me thatGG haven't thought this through and are potentially making themselves vulnerable.

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