Girlguiding has removed two guide leaders because they questioned the charity’s approach to transgender individuals, according to an article in the Sunday Times.
But Girlguiding has said the individuals involved were sanctioned because they breached codes of conduct, not because of their personal views.
Girlguiding’s policy is that anyone who self-identifies as a woman will be allowed to take on all volunteer roles, and anyone who self-identifies as a girl can join a youth section.
A letter to the Sunday Times in April, backed by almost 250 signatories connected to the guiding movement, questioned whether this was the right policy because it raised safeguarding issues.
The Sunday Times claims that two of signatories of that letter have since been asked to step down because of their approach to transgender individuals, and that more face disciplinary action.
But Girlguiding said: “We have a thorough and robust investigations process and the withdrawal of membership is always a last resort, but we take very seriously any breach of our volunteer code of conduct or policies. Following an independent investigation, two individuals were found to have breached our Volunteer Code of Conduct by indicating they are not willing to follow Girlguiding’s Equality and Diversity Policy; as well as breach our Social Media Policy. As a result, sanctions have been applied accordingly. An appeal of the decision can be made within 14 days of the individual being notified of the outcome.
“This decision was a result of an independent investigation following a number of complaints received, and in line with our complaints policy. It is based on the individuals having breached our Volunteer Code of Conduct and Social Media Policy, not on their personal views.
“Girlguiding is for all girls, and that includes trans girls. We are working in line with the Equality Act 2010 and review our policy and practice regularly in line with new guidance and best practice as it emerges. It is important that we find ways to discuss these issues in an environment of mutual respect and tolerance and keep the happiness and wellbeing of all girls and young women at the heart of this. We will continue to respond directly to any concerned volunteers, girls or parents to help them navigate this complex area.”
The appeal process is ongoing and the charity said it could not comment further at this point.