An Australian mother has come forward to express concerns about an adult man who had been given access to her daughter’s Girl Guides event, ostensibly on the basis of his gender identity.
Every year, the Girl Guides in Australia holds a Jamboree advertised to Australian parents of as a week long adventure of female empowerment for their daughters. This year, over 1,000 young Australian girls between the ages of 10 and 17 attended the event in Ballarat, Victoria. For many, this was their first time away from home and family.
While most parents might assume that the staff in closest contact with their girls would be female, one Aussie mother was horrified to have received a text message from her daughter that there was a man in attendance.
Speaking to Reduxx, Queensland mother Sadie* says she had allowed her 14-year-old daughter to travel with her Guiding friends to the Jamboree, but shortly after received a text message from the girl informing her that there was a man “pretending to be a woman, wearing a Guide shirt.”
Sadie said she immediately contacted the camp leader and second-in-charge with the information her daughter provided. After a brief investigation, Sadie was told that the man was “was part of the Scouts group assisting the event set-up but not staying on site.” Sadie was initially told the man may have “borrowed” the shirt.
Sadie says that she understood that the usual procedure for males on Guide camp sites was for them to be chaperoned by a Guide Leader. But, as messages from her daughter continued to roll in, Sadie quickly learned the man was participating in events directly with the girls.
Sadie explains she received images and messages from her daughter of the man performing onstage in a skirt with the local hosting guide troop, mingling with the children, and appearing to act in a supervisory capacity.
“If I could have jumped in the car and brought her home, I would have… but this was the first time she had travelled interstate without me, I was even fearful of telling other parents as I didn’t want them to feel as distressed and helpless as I did. Parents should have been told that a man was participating as a Guide on-site at the Jamboree.”
Sadie once again contacted Camp Leaders, who told her they would “talk” to her daughter — something Sadie says she instructed them not to do. She told Reduxx she did not want her daughter singled out or disciplined, and was concerned her child would be “gaslit” by adult staff insisting the man was in fact a woman.
Upon returning home, Sadie says her daughter told her: “We could all see he is a man, he had facial fluff, but nobody dared say anything.”
Girl Guides Australia’s Child Safe Safety Frameworks places emphasis on that it is an “inclusive, supportive, safe and friendly girl-only environment,” but further policies articulate that “girls” can include anyone who identifies as such.
According to the organization’s Guidelines for Diversity and Inclusion: “Membership of GGA and SGGOs is limited to girls and women. Under the terms of this policy, ‘girls and women’ include persons who identity as and live their lives as, females. For the purposes of Australian Guiding membership, non-female gender is a lawfully permitted basis for denying membership.”
On the basis of these guidelines, Girl Guides Australia is open to any person, male or female, who expresses a “female’’ gender identity. Ironically, any female who does not have a “female” gender identity, such as those who identify as as “non-binary” or “trans,” would not be allowed to participate in Girl Guides membership.
The guidelines further state that the organization would not discriminate against any member on the basis of sex or gender identity.
Sadie believes the policies must be urgently reviewed in order to ensure the safeguarding of the young girls who participate in Girl Guides events.
“The Girl Guiding Inclusion policy … does not reflect community expectations. It must be reassessed by sensible voices who see safeguarding of our children as the priority, not the inclusion of men and boys able to roam unsupervised around our young daughters,” the mother says.
Sadie has told Reduxx she has reported the presence of a male at the Jamboree as an official incident with her daughter’s Girl Guide Leaders. At this stage, she said she feels her “concerns have been taken seriously.” If the response is considered unsatisfactory, Sadie may escalate her concerns higher in the organization.
Girl Guides Australia did not respond to a request for comment on their policies.
While the identity of the transgender male who oversaw the youth at the Jamboree is currently unknown, this is not the first time concerns have been raised about the global shift in “inclusivity” amongst Girl Guides organizations.
Last year, a frenzy was sparked in the United Kingdom after a trans-identified male with a disturbing social media history became the lead Commissioner for the Southwell division of Girlguding, the nation’s Girl Guides franchise.
Monica Sulley, a male who identifies as a woman, became the lead Commissioner for the Southwell division of Girlguiding in July of 2021, but came to widespread attention later on in the year after concerning social media posts emerged. Sulley had made posts on multiple platforms of photos of himself posing with weapons, dressed in bondage gear, and captioning himself “Mistress.”
Some members of the public who attempted to contact Girlguiding to submit complaints about Sulley were later contacted by police and threatened with arrest.
*The name of the mother interviewed has been changed to protect her daughter’s identity.
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