Women Speak Tasmania has held a street protest against Girl Guides Australia’s recently released policy that allows biological male persons, both boys and adult men, to join the organisation as members and leaders – see https://www.guidelinesforgirlguides.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/GGA-Diversity-and-Inclusion-Guidance-APPROVED-03-06-2018.pdf .
Thursday 11 October 2018 was International Day of the Girl Child. Girls and their parents should be aware that an organisation that has provided safe opportunities and experiences for girls for over a century is now opening their doors to male-bodied people.
Women Speak Tasmania are calling on parents and the community to boycott Girl Guides Australia until the policy is opened up for proper consultation.
Female members and their parents will not be advised if a male member joins their unit. Parents will be denied the opportunity to make an informed choice when seeking an all-female organisation for their child.
This policy has slipped under the radar, avoiding any broader discussion of the potential impact on the rights of girls to a female only space.
A similar policy for Girl Guides in the UK has led to public opposition from a number of current and former Girl Guide unit leaders –
‘In April, 224 current and former unit leaders, volunteers and parents signed an open letter saying the new equality and diversity policy “poses safeguarding risks, reinforces gender stereotypes and denies informed parental consent”.
Two unit leaders have recently been expelled from Girl Guides UK, and their units have been disbanded, because they expressed concerns about the trans policy – see https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/girl-guide-leaders-expelled-for-questioning-trans-policy-550x7m55r.
This is a personal issue for many women, young and old, who have enjoyed mastering new skills and forging friendships in a secure female-only environment. Seeing Girl Guides Australia compromise its core purpose in the name of trans inclusivity saddens them enormously.
Girl Guides Australia must review this policy and conduct a full and transparent consultation with all their members about how to best secure and protect the rights of girls in the organisation.