Supporting trans members

What you should consider to support trans people within Girlguiding

Make sure you include all young members - including trans people - in activities and residentials

Young trans members may be going through a time of great uncertainty. As an inclusive organisation, we strive to ensure that all of our members are supported to reach their full potential and so we will ensure that we support all young trans members to have access to the accommodation and facilities that they feel most comfortable using. The most important thing is to not make assumptions and to speak to the young trans member about their wishes and what would make them most comfortable and supported. Some may prefer to use communal spaces, while others may prefer more private or separate spaces.

For young transgender members, there are some key considerations you need to make to ensure that they are able to fully participate in guiding.

Planning activities

Plan in advance - some young trans members may not feel comfortable with some physical activities at weekly meetings or on residential events. Make sure that they have access to a list of the proposed activities in advance, so they can make an informed decision about what they take part in.

Provide options - if the young person is unsure about taking part in a particular activity, discuss with them what they would like to do as an alternative. Ideally, if an alternative activity is being provided, this should be made available to all young members.

All they want to do is 'be'. They aren't sexual predators or con artists; they are simply children. - Girlguiding volunteer leader

I felt alone because I had no one and it scared me. - Quote provided by Stonewall

Organising accommodation for residentials

It's important to work with trans people when organising accommodation rather than making assumptions or arrangements without consulting them.

Sharing accommodation - young trans members should be able to share accommodation with other young members if they wish. Some trans people may not feel comfortable sharing accommodation so in this case an alternative option should be provided. This should be done discreetly, in conversation with the young person and, if appropriate, their parent or carer. The option of having an alternative accommodation arrangement is open to any young person if it is requested.

Using facilities - the use of gendered facilities, such as toilets and showers, can be a cause of anxiety in trans young people. Members are entitled to use the facilities of the gender that they self-identify as. And where possible more private, individual or mixed gender facilities should be made available or offered to all young members – including trans members – should they wish or request them. This will ensure that trans young people do not avoid using the bathroom or feel singled out in any way.

Privacy when changing - a young person may wish to have more privacy when changing at a residential event and for activities too. Alternative, more private areas should be made available to all young members - including trans members - should they wish or request them. This will ensure that trans young people do not feel singled out in any way.

Changing rooms are awful. I feel sick and have panic attacks whenever we have PE. I have to get changed in the cubicle toilets. - Quote provided by Stonewall

Travelling abroad

Be culturally aware - when travelling abroad, consider local laws and attitudes towards members of the LGBT community. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office provide advice for LGBT people on travelling abroad, and what to do if you encounter problems overseas.

Passports - trans people may or may not have passports that reflect the gender they identify as. This might make taking a trip abroad more stressful for them, for example they might feel the need to change their passport in advance, or they may have concerns about going through passport control. The Passport Office provides more information for trans people on applying for a passport

Guidelines around disclosure

A person does not have to disclose to you if they are trans. If they do, you should respect their confidentiality.

When a young person is 18 or over, it is unlawful to tell other people that they are trans unless the trans person has given you permission to do so. When someone is under 18, it is still good practice not to tell other people unless they have given you permission to do so.

If you feel it would be a positive step to tell others in order to best support the young person then you should consult them. The young person may agree with you and you can plan this accordingly.

It is not a requirement - or best practice - to tell parents that a trans person will be attending a residential event.

Get advice on inclusion

Contact the Inclusion team at Girlguiding HQ for more information about including all girls and volunteers in guiding.