Saturday 18 November 2017

Catholic Girl Guides not taking boys who identify as females

CEO Linda Peters s
CEO Linda Peters s

Ian Begley

The Catholic Girl Guides of Ireland (CGI) will not presently accept boys identifying as girls into their organisation.

As revealed in yesterday's Irish Independent, the Irish Girl Guides says it is considering welcoming boys who "self-identify" as girls.

However, while the CGI says it is taking a lot of time and effort to examine this measure, it will not currently welcome a self-identifying girl into the group in the meantime.

"I think this would be in the best interests of everyone, and especially for that child, until a policy is developed," said Michelle Finnerty, spokesperson and volunteer for CGI.

"We would tell the parent 'leave it with us, we are actively working on it and we will have a policy very soon'.

"We don't want to be in a position of making their [boys identifying as girls] lives any more difficult for them."

Ms Finnerty added that although the CGI has not been approached with a scenario such as this, one of its volunteers travelled to Sweden recently to attend a round-table discussion on gender and membership with the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts.

Interest

"One of our members has a special interest in this area and had gathered a lot of useful information on this topic while she was over there.

"Putting together a policy on this is going to take a long time, because it will need a lot of consultation. We have to listen to the views of our youth members and parents' opinions, along with expert advice, too," she said.

Linda Peters, chief executive officer of the Irish Girl Guides, said in yesterday's Irish Independent that "our policy is that anyone who lives their life as a female is welcome to join our organisation".

However, when asked if she would presently accept a boy identifying himself as a girl, she said: "I don't know. It's a hypothetical question, so I'm not going to answer it or comment further. We'll be in a better position to go into more detail when we finalise our guidelines on this topic."

Ms Peters added that there is an IGG volunteer who has a transgender child, but who is not a member.

"The adult is a volunteer leader with us and has a child that is transgender. We're consulting with her from a leader's perspective. Her child is not a member," she said.

Alan Matthews, group leader of the all-boys St Patrick's Scout Group in Dundalk, said that he wouldn't see any problem with allowing a self-identifying boy from joining his troop.

"I don't see why we wouldn't let them join. If they want to identify themselves as a boy, fair enough. I suppose it's their human right and we're not going to stand against them. I'm sure six- and seven-year-olds wouldn't notice the difference," Mr Matthews said.

Irish Independent

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