mc_squared Posted February 11, 2011 Share Posted February 11, 2011 Teenage boy who wanted to join Girl Guides accuses organisation of sexual discrimination after he is turned away By Daily Mail Reporter Last updated at 6:59 PM on 11th February 2011 Comments (0) Add to My Stories Sexism? Thomas Desai, 17, believes he was discriminated against A teenage boy barred from a Girl Guides meeting has accused the organisation of sexual discrimination. Thomas Desai, 17, was invited by two female friends to join them at their weekly session at the Guide hut, 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,' said Thomas, from Crowborough, East Sussex. Sex discrimination laws allow the Guiding movement to exclude boys, but Thomas criticised the organisation's 'backward ethos'. Guiding bosses have fiercely defended their stance, saying it was 'vital' in today's society for a girls-only group to be available. Sixth-form 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.' More... Case by case: How Europe's human rights court has made a mockery of British justiceHARRY PHIBBS: Sanity returns to the legal system - but the battle is not yet won Thomas said he had always been fascinated with Girl Guiding. He said: '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-orientated 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.' 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. 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. Lord Baden Powell established the Guides movement in 1910. His wife, Lady Olave Baden Powell, became Chief Guide Thomas said the Guides should open its doors to people like him who were keen to get involved and do something positive but didn't see Scouts for them. 'We are living in 21st-century Britain, where discrimination is not tolerated in any form. Surely these days a person's sex should not define what they are and are not allowed to do,' he said. 'The Guiding movement encourages equality and acceptance, and yet seems to fail itself in practice. 'Times are changing fast and the movement needs to open its eyes and catch up with the rest of society. 'I feel let down that such a backward ethos is still acceptable.' The Rangers' website describes their meetings as 'informal and spirited'. Claire Cohen, spokesman for Girlguiding UK, said: 'The young man turned up unexpectedly at the location. He was spoken to by a person who was responsible for a younger age group. 'The Rangers leader had no knowledge of this and would have given him the same message but might have used a slightly more 'teen-friendly' approach to explain to him why we are a girl-only space.' She added: 'Our young members, whom we frequently consult, have repeatedly told us enjoying a safe girl-only space is one of the things they value most about their guiding experience. 'Throughout our 100 years we have always maintained this safe girl-only space for our members. 'We strongly believe that in today's world there remains a vital role for such a space, where girls can be themselves during a formative time in their lives without the pressures of having boys around.' Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1356075/Teenage-boy-wanted-join-Girl-Guides-accuses-organisation-sexual-discrimination-turned-away.html#ixzz1DgepjKS7 Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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