Girl Guides Victoria has added fuel to a controversial debate after reportedly allowing boys who identify as girls to join the organisation and share facilities with other members.
It comes after the UK’s own organisation confirmed last year that transgender girls have the right to join the Girl Guides. The policy also stated that members “are entitled to use the facilities of the gender that they self-identify as”.
Now, according to the Herald Sun, Victoria’s organisation has followed suit, with anyone who is currently transitioning or identifies as female allowed to sign up, as part of the diversity and inclusion policy.
The CEO told the news outlet there are currently three girls who previously identified as boys in the group, but admitted there may be more as not everyone chooses to disclose. In one case, she said they helped one girl to speak out.
The organisation, which has been female-only for more than 100 years, insists it’s still the case that only females can be members – but that now includes anyone who identifies as a girl.
It therefore excludes those who are biologically female but identify as male.
“If you identify as a girl that’s it. You are welcome at Girl Guides,” Girl Guides Victoria CEO Amanda Kelly explained to the news outlet.
The policy is said to cover girls as young as five, with Kelly adding: “It’s not a big deal, it’s more of an explanation of what we already do.
The guidelines reportedly state that transgender girls “may use the bathroom that corresponds to their gender”, as well as sleep in the same communal area.
According to the UK’s official policy, which was previously announced overseas, all members should be made to feel included. It states: “As an inclusive organisation, we strive to ensure that all of our members are supported to reach their full potential and so we will ensure that we support all young trans members to have access to the accommodation and facilities that they feel most comfortable using.”
The policy itself has long sparked debate from many. One mum and Girl Guiding leader previously took to online forum Mumsnet to admit she’s in support of being inclusive, but is worried about the sleeping arrangements.
“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?” She wrote.
Another user commented below the post: “Terrible policy! No boys should be sharing with girls however they identify. Why is Girlguiding going along with this madness?”
While one agreed and added: “Yes, I am a parent of a Brownie and I am worried about this. The thing that stands out for me is that 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.”
However others supported the policy, and children’s charity NSPCC previously stated that it “doesn’t consider there to be specific child protection concerns in relation to trans-inclusive policies,” after calling off a planned live event following anger from Mumsnet users over the policy.