The Girl Guides Of Canada's New Policy On Trans Members Can Teach Us All A Thing Or Two About Inclusivity
Here in the United States, the Girl Scouts have a long history of welcoming transgender girls into troops. Now the Canadian version of Girl Scouts, the Girl Guides, are also admitting trans girls, and their new policy is arguably even better than the one in the United States. Good job, Canada!
Girl Guides already allowed individual troops to admit trans girls on a case-by-case basis, but now that policy has gotten even better. According to an updated policy on the Girl Guides's website, the organization believes "an individual is considered to be the final authority on their own gender identity"; accordingly, girls who identify as such are to be welcomed in the Girl Guides, regardless of biological sex or whether they publicly present themselves as girls in every aspect of their lives.
In an informational guide provided by the organization for troop leaders, Girl Guides states that troops should support transgender scouts' choice of whether or not to be open about being trans. It also states that trans girls should be allowed to use washrooms and participate in camping trips and other outings with other girls, provided they themselves are comfortable doing so.
And perhaps best of all, the policy doesn't mince any words in dealing with the scenario of a parent being concerned that having a trans girl in the troop will make their daughter unsafe. It tells it exactly like it is:
[This concern] is often raised in conversations about denying trans people access to washrooms and should be recognised as a form of discrimination. Violence in washrooms has almost always been directed towards the trans person. There are no instances of a trans person being found guilty of going into a washroom to cause violence. You can let the parent know that you expect all girls to behave in respectful and appropriate ways in the washroom, that everyone’s safety is important to you, that having a trans member poses no risk to their daughter.
“As an inclusive organization, we are committed to supporting an environment were all girls and women feel accepted, respected, and empowered,” Pamela Rice, Chief Commissioner of Girl Guides of Canada, told BuzzFeed.
Like I said, go Canada!
Here in the United States, the Girls Scouts also welcome trans girls and have been admirably adamant in sticking to their position. They are also light years ahead of the Boy Scouts on the issue. Still, trans Girl Scouts are admitted on a case-by-case basis and there is no blanket position that all trans girls are welcome — at least not yet.
Looks like this might be one of those times when the United States really could learn a few things from our neighbors to the north.
Images: Giphy (2)