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Transgender and Gender Identity

Scouting is an inclusive, values-based movement that is open and welcoming to all, regardless of gender identity. A person’s gender identity is their inner sense of their own gender. This is different from their ‘sex’. We are all assigned a sex at birth (male or female) based on the physical attributes we are born with. Be aware too that a person’s gender identity is separate from their sexual orientation – for more information on sexual orientation, click here.

What does transgender/trans mean?
A transgender (or trans) person is someone who feels that the sex they were assigned at birth does not match well with the gender they identify as. This includes people who were assigned female at birth but whose gender is male (trans men), people who were assigned male at birth whose gender is female, (trans women) and people who do not identify as male or female (non-binary people). Trans, transgender and non-binary are commonly accepted terms but some people will prefer to use one or more of a much wider range of terms to describe their gender identity instead.

What does it mean to transition?
Transitioning is when a person takes steps to change the outward expression of their gender so that it better aligns with their inner sense of gender. For some people this will involve things such as telling their friends or family, dressing differently, changing pronouns (whether they are referred to as he/she/they) or their name. Some trans people will decide to have medical procedures or hormone therapy, but this is not the case for everyone. Every trans person is different and so the steps they decide to take will be different too.

What does the law say?
Gender reassignment is the legal term and protected characteristic in the Equality Act 2010 that protects trans people from discrimination, whether or not they are taking medical steps to transition. It means that organisations, including The Scouts Association, have a legal duty to ensure trans people do not experience poor treatment, bullying or discrimination and that they have equal opportunities to participate. This means making sure that we remove barriers and make adjustments so that trans members can access Scouting just as easily as anyone else.

What challenges do trans people experience?
Trans young people may find puberty a particularly difficult time as their body is changing in a way that may not feel comfortable to them and their own sense of gender. This may mean that they worry about their physical appearance. Unfortunately many trans people still experience bullying and discrimination in society, and like any form of prejudice, this can be deeply distressing and may lead to poor mental health. However, it is important not to assume that everyone will have the same experience.


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