The century-old Girl Guides, the United Kingdom’s version of Girl Scouts, controversially changed its rulebook earlier this month to stipulate that all members—regardless of their anatomy—can use the same bathroom and sleeping facilities. While the organization claims the updated policy is “in line with [its] values of inclusion,” safety and privacy concerns have been raised.
As the Telegraph reported, the new guidelines allow for members ages five to 25 who are born male but identify as female to “share accommodation with other young members if they wish.” In an explanation on its website, Girl Guides said “the use of gendered facilities… can cause anxiety,” and “members are [now] allowed to use the facilities of the gender they self-identify as.”
Julie Bentley, chief executive of Girlguiding, said the organization is adhering to the requirements set forth in the 2010 Equality Act, which dictated that groups providing single-sex services must treat people according to their acquired gender.
“In line with our values of inclusion, we welcome any young person who self-identifies as a girl or young woman,” she said. “If a young person doesn’t feel comfortable sharing accommodation, for whatever reason, we encourage them to talk to their leader about alternative accommodation and facilities.”
Additionally, the organization has determined it is not “best practice” to tell parents about biological males who may be using girls’ changing rooms, showers, or sleeping quarters.
While it is unclear how many transgender members will be impacted by the new rules, at least one British politician is concerned about the effect it will have on the organization at large.
“If transgender girls who are physically male are going to be sharing facilities, it’s going to make some girls threatened and uncomfortable and the Guides shouldn’t be doing that,” conservative MP David Davies told The Mail on Sunday.
(H/T: The Daily Wire)