Boy accuses all-girls scout group of sexual bias

Saturday, February 12, 2011

LONDON - A teenaged boy in Britain has accused an all-girls scout group of sexual discrimination for not allowing him to attend its meet.

Thomas Desai, 17, was invited by two female friends to join them at their weekly session of Girl Guides, an all-girls scout group. But he was turned away at the door.

“I made the assumption, as girls are welcome to be members of the Scouting movement, I would be welcome,” the Sun quoted Thomas from Crowborough, East Sussex, as saying.

Girl Guides were formed in 1910 as a movement for girls in response to the setting up of the Scouts, exclusively for boys, a year earlier.

Sixth-grade student Thomas had been invited to a meeting of the Crowborough District Rangers, the section of the Guiding movement for 14 to 26-year-old women, where regular activities include hiking, cooking, crafts, and challenges.

“I was disgusted,” he said. “My friends were surprised. They thought I would be welcome.

“It’s not as if I was some strange person going on my own. I was with friends. They turned me away just because I was a male.”

Thomas said he had always been fascinated with Girl Guiding.

“The values of camaraderie and friendship within the movement, as well as the various activities members undertake, appeal to me greatly.

“I have never really had male-oriented hobbies. I’m not interested in football and rugby. I love cooking and eventually want to be a chef. I feel I can engage better with girls than boys,” he said.

In the past couple of decades, Scouts troops have been free to accept girls if they choose, but the Guiding movement has remained for girls only.

Though sex discrimination laws allow the Guiding movement to exclude boys, but Thomas criticised the organisation’s “backward ethos”.

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