LIFESTYLE

Girlguiding To Welcome Transgender Children And Leaders Under Official New Guidelines

Transgender kids will be welcomed at Rainbows, Brownies and Girl Guides.

23/01/2017 14:06 GMT | Updated 23/01/2017 15:18 GMT

New guidelines from Girlguiding state that transgender children and leaders are welcome in the organisation in a move to support anyone who identifies as a girl or woman.

The 107-year-old organisation now officially opens its doors to those who were assigned male at birth but self-identify as female.

The guidelines state that children from the age of five can join Rainbows, Brownies and Girl Guides if they identify as female.

In addition, transgender women are able to undertake leadership roles within the clubs, including the esteemed role of Brown Owl.

Fiona Hanson/PA Archive

Transgender children have been able to attend Girlguiding in the past, but parents would have had to speak to leaders on a case-by-case basis.

This is the first time the organisation has cerated an official policy on the topic in writing. The move has been praised by LGBT+ campaigners. 

The new guidelines on the Girlguiding website state: “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 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.”

The guidelines confirm that adults who self-identify as women are able to undertake all adult roles in guiding and may, if they wish, make their Promise (a pledge made by members of Girlguiding).

 “We understand that there will be times when an adult may be transitioning from female whilst in membership and they may be experiencing a great amount of change and uncertainty,” they add.

“Flexibility and discretion must be used whilst in conversation with the person about any potential changes to their role in guiding and any decisions about how these changes take place should be jointly agreed.” 

Aimee Challenor, equalities (LGBTIQ) spokesperson for the Green Party, has welcomed the new guidelines. 

“I’m really pleased to see the Girlguiding movement continue its values of acceptance by allowing trans girls to be a part of their movement and experience the many wonderful experiences in guiding,” she told The Huffington Post UK.

“Allowing trans girls into their movement will help give them a sense of belonging and will hopefully be another step to normalising trans young people.”

A spokesperson from the LGBT rights charity Stonewall added: “This is a very welcome step as it ensures that all girls and young women are included, and demonstrates a real commitment to creating a world where all lesbian, gay, bi and trans people are accepted without exception.”

Chief executive of Girlguiding Julie Bentley said the new guidelines brought the organisation in line with the Equality Act, which states 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 HuffPost 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.”