Blind guides ‘personguiding’ – to where?

It has been reported in the UK -- appropriately enough on Mother’s Day -- that the youth organisation Girlguiding UK has published an inclusive language guide which calls for words such as mother and father to be discarded to help make girlguiding “modern and relevant”.  

Guide leaders are supposed to use “parents and carers” when referring to m-----s and f-----s. Even the word “girl” is in danger. The style guide suggests “calling girls ‘they’ instead of ‘she’ if unsure about which pronoun a member prefers to use”.

The 60-page document, “Girlguiding: our tone of voice guidelines” was sent to Guide and Brownie leaders this month.  Girlguiding has refreshed its “brand purpose” and “tone of voice” to be attractive to a younger and more diverse generation. It goes on:

 

We’re a girl-only space for all girls and young women. We’re also proud to be a trans-inclusive organisation and welcome trans girls and non-binary young people. We know the term ‘girl’ may not cover these young people – and language is of course always evolving. When we can, we adjust our language to be gender neutral. This helps us include all young people who relate to experiences of girlhood and womanhood.

This “younger generation” is composed of babies and toddlers indoctrinated with gender ideology in the nursery. But the document also explains how to use language in relation to disability, age and race”. “Everyone’s different and has their own language preferences. It’s always best to ask or listen to how the person describes themselves and use that language where you can.”

It advises: ‘“Be specific when talking about a person or community. Name ethnic groups instead of using broad terms like BAME”’ (BAME is an overused acronym in the UK which stands for “black, Asian and minority ethnic”.)

Former education minister Andrea Jenkyns summed up  the situation: "Girl Guides have been at the heart of our country for over a century, teaching millions of young women the skills that they need to become proud, proactive and practical members of society. What this 'woke' rebrand tells us is that the Guides have lost their way."

However, this move should come as no surprise; having excluded God in 2013, it seems now that Girlguiding is excluding mothers and fathers – all in the name of inclusion.

When Chief Executive of Girlguiding, Julie Bentley, restructured the organisation, she developed its first five-year strategy. This included changing the girl guides’ famed promise. This had evolved over the years, and now members commit to “develop my beliefs” rather than “love my God”.

For an organisation run on Christian lines, with a Christian ethos, this was an insult to the memory of Agnes Baden-Powell, sister of Scouts’ founder Robert Baden-Powell, both devout Christians who believed in teaching young people resilience, self-reliance and Christian charity.

Somewhat in contradiction to this ethos, Bentley was formerly with the Family Planning Association, during which time she was a member of the Government’s Teenage Pregnancy Independent Advisory Group and the Independent Advisory Group on Sexual Health and HIV. She now leads a suicide prevention organisation, the Samaritans. This seems like an appropriate move, since her stint with Girlguiding may have been enough to drive everyone involved in that organisation to despair.

Given the recent drift of girls wishing to “develop their beliefs” by joining the Cubs and Scouts, perhaps Girlguiding now wants to attract boys – aka “persons assigned male at birth”. This would tick all the woke boxes; however, not only the girls, but also those guiding them - aka volunteers - will be making for the exit rather than tolerate this brand of tolerance.

As usual such moves are described as “inclusive” but succeed in excluding the vast majority - indeed, in this case, 100 percent of us, since even the Girlguiding UK organisers must have had fathers and mothers.

They may be blind to such issues, but there is an even more fundamental problem: what do you call an organisation that is no longer interested in guiding girls -- personguiding? Not that any sane parent would want this once estimable outfit guiding their girls – or boys.

As Jesus (He/Him) warned, blind guides will only succeed in leading their followers into the ditch.

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