Girlguiding settles gender-critical case

Girlguiding UK has released a statement saying it has settled its legal case with Katie Alcock.

Katie Alcock and fellow guide leader Helen Watts were expelled from Girlguiding after an investigation into their social-media activity when they raised safeguarding concerns about Girlguiding’s policy of admitting male children and adults as members on the basis of declared female gender identity. 

Katie Alcock brought a case for belief discrimination. In its statement, Girlguiding says it recognises that “gender-critical beliefs” are protected under the Equality Act 2010. It says it respects and values the right of girls and volunteers who hold gender-critical beliefs to express those beliefs within their membership. 

Dr Katie Alcock (@wontsomeonethi2) / Twitter

It also says that Girlguiding shall remain “a home for trans people”, but that it agrees “that sex and gender are different, and will reflect this in the language we use”.

It has invited Katie to apply to rejoin, and acknowledged the impact that not being part of Girlguiding has had on her personal and family life.

Review and update policies, make sure parents understand them

Girlguiding states that it will continue to review and update policies in line with government guidance and the law, putting safeguarding at the heart of what it does.

It also commits to engage with new members, volunteers, parents, carers and girls, in order “to ensure our inclusive policies and procedures, and what they mean in practice, are easy to understand”. It has committed to consulting with a broad range of external organisations.

Katie Alcock said:

“There are different views around sex and gender. Only through a substantive dialogue can those views be shared and considered and resolution be found. I am proud to have been part of a process that has enabled this to happen, and proud to have been associated for so long with an organisation which has facilitated this.”

Maya Forstater, the Executive Director of Sex Matters, says:

“Katie Alcock and Helen Watts should not have been put through an investigation, and Katie Alcock should not have had to crowdfund for litigation in order to get Girlguiding to accept that the majority of people in this country do not believe that men can turn into women, and the law does not require them to profess that belief. Addressing the mental-health needs of gender-distressed children cannot mean compelling everyone around them to pretend that the material reality of sex can be changed. Any organisation with safeguarding responsibilities must be clear about sex, and there is still a place for single-sex organisations for girls.”

Sex Matters will be writing to Angela Salt OBE, the CEO of Girlguiding, and Catherine Irwin, the organisation’s chair of trustees, to ask for a meeting to discuss Girlguiding’s policies and how they relate to safeguarding, the Equality Act and the charity’s historic (and officially unchanged) mandate to operate for girls. 

We will also be encouraging gender-critical girl guides, parents and leaders to express their views to Girlguiding about its decision no longer to be a single-sex organisation.