Girls in the Game Supports Every Girl by Maggie Arthur

Today, March 31, is Transgender Day of Visibility. Girls in the Game is showing our support of the trans community by sharing how we recently drafted, developed and determined our organization’s policy on including transgender athletes.

Last spring the Girl Scouts of America received an abundance of media attention for returning a $100,000 donation – enough money to provide free programming for 500 girls. The anonymous donor attached the caveat that the money could not be used to support transgender girl scouts. In order to recoup the cash, the Girl Scouts of America made an Indiegogo campaign, and in one month they raised $338,282.

The Girl Scouts’ incredible feat inspired myself and others at Girls in the Game to take a look at our stance on transgender athletes. With some research, I realized that we were one of many organizations serving young girls who simply failed to address gender non-conforming participants. My fellow coaches and I began to petition for a policy asserting our belief that, like the Girl Scouts, our community is made stronger by including all girls.

One way we work together to make change at Girls in the Game is in the form of small committees. Our committees consist of coaches, coordinators and development staff who collaborate to addresses a specific aspect of the organization such as the After School curriculum or Girls in the Game’s policies and procedures. Over the past few months, the groups have been able to revitalize curriculum, refine best practices training for new coaches and amend organization-wide policies. Ultimately, all of our work is to ensure that we are doing everything we can to aid our participants in finding their voice, discovering their strength and leading with confidence.

As a member of the Policies and Procedures Committee, I volunteered for the task of writing the actual policy. I felt it should be clear and concise in addressing two major points: first, Girls in the Game exists to empower all girls to grow into athletes and leaders. Second, in order to develop the confidence to grow, girls must feel supported and safe. Ultimately, I was surprised at how easy the words came to me once I realized this policy simply reinforces our already-established goal of reaching as many girls as we possibly can. Once the rest of the committee reviewed the policy, Teen Programs Manager, Margaret Miles, brought it to the next team development meeting. After some simple edits, the policy was ready.

Girls in the Game prides itself on being a leading girls’ health and fitness organization. We believe that in order for girls to feel free to develop their confidence and leadership skills, Girls in the Game must provide an environment where they feel supported and safe. Therein, any student enrolled in programming who identifies and lives culturally as a girl can be sure that her personhood is valued and protected by Girls in the Game coaches, staff and participants.

I am excited to see the policy that I worked on, that I so strongly believe in, find its way (soon) onto our new website. Moreover, I am incredibly proud to be a part of an organization that not only supported my fellow coaches and myself in making such big moves, but also one that is actively working for LGBTQ youth acceptance and visibility in our community.

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