We needed to do more to become truly inclusive

The Times picks up the Girl Guides-Ace story:

Girlguiding has been criticised for promoting asexuality awareness, causing some parents to threaten to withdraw their daughters from the group.

The organisation, which provides activities and regular meetings for girls aged five to 18, posted a tweet in support of Ace Week, an awareness event for asexuality, acknowledging all members and volunteers who identify as such.

But there is such a thing as “Ace Week” according to whom? Asexuality is a thing that requires an awareness week how, and according to whom? People “identify as such” according to whom? Is there a week for every kind of No Thank You there is? One for people who don’t like pickles? One for cinnamon, one for swimming, one for math, one for politics, one for lacrosse, one for zippers – you can see how quickly we would run out of weeks, can’t you.

It’s not at all clear that there even is such a thing as “asexuality” as a permanent condition aka an “identity.” There is more or less libido but – wait for it – it’s a spectrum not a binary. Isn’t it? And anyway even if there are some people who have Permanent Absolute Zero libido, how is that “an identity”? Why would it need “a week”?

Angela Salt, chief executive of Girlguiding, said: “A year ago we did a consultation with members asking how inclusive we were as an organisation. Our membership — made up of girls, parents, carers, volunteers and staff — told us that we haven’t got it right, and we needed to do more to become truly inclusive.”

“Inclusive” of what? Or whom? What does yattering about “asxuality” have to do with being more “inclusive”? By all means be more inclusive of girls from poor families, immigrant families, brown families, lesbian and gay families – but what does “asexuality” have to do with any of that? Not a single damn thing.

“In response, we launched our new diversity and inclusion strategic plan to make Girlguiding a place where everyone feels welcomed, like they belong and free to be themselves, whoever they are and wherever they are from.”

She must be joking. Tweeting about “Asexuality Week” will scare people off, not make them feel welcomed. Does she seriously think there are masses of girls out there feeling unwelcome at Girl Guides because those girls are “ace”?

When and why did the authorities hand the word “inclusive” over to Stonewall?

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