A UK taxpayer-funded summer camp is facing controversy for their housing policies that allow for campers to be housed based on gender identity and not biological sex, meaning that biologically male campers can end up in female cabins, and vice versa.
A parent who complained about a biological male identifying as female being housed with biological females was told by camp staff to respect the identity of the transgendered person. Another reported instance happened in 2019 when a son wanted to leave the camp, because two campers, one of whom was trans, got into a "sexual relationship."
The National Citizen Service (NCS) is a program that former Prime Minister David Cameron started in 2011. The intended purposes for the program are to give young people between the ages of 15 and 17 access to social development opportunities.
One of these opportunities is a summer camp.
In an exclusive from The Telegraph, these transgendered housing policies are now being critically assessed for whether or not they safeguard the children involved. The fact that taxpayers have given over £1.3 billion in funding over the past decade adds to the recent scrutiny.
An anonymous mother told the UK media outlet that her 16-year-old son identified as a female to staff when signing up for the camp. The fact that the teenager in question "watched YouTube videos" as the sole inspiration for their desire to transition, was enough for staff to accommodate the "self-ID" preferences of the 16-year-old boy, "allowing him access to whichever dorm they feel comfortable in."
The mother told the outlet that she "didn’t think that it was fair for him to go into the girls’ dorm. If mixed-sex dorms are allowed, then obviously there is the risk of sexual relations, but also this is a threat to the privacy of the girls."
A primary concern in her consideration was the fact that these girls at the camp would be 16-years-old, a young age for privacy concerns.
The NCS rules allows campers to state a "religious belief or past trauma" as to why they don’t want to be housed with biological males as a way to get out of being housed with teens of the opposite sex.
However, their trans inclusion policy is described on a "case by case" basis where local providers are left to decide for themselves. Staff are asked what "their individual accommodation preferences are and which toilets, showers and changing rooms they are most comfortable using."
"Any alternative arrangement should be informed by the young person’s individual preference," they say for showers and restroom facilities.
Part of the confusion comes from how single-gender accommodation and mixed-gender accommodations are advertised and rules getting confused with terminologies for gender and sex.
A group called the Safer Schools Alliance UK said they’ve received several complaints and concerns from parents about the situation.
"Children have a right to be safeguarded by the adults around them. With mixed-sex sleeping, there are issues with privacy and dignity and safety. There is the possibility of sexual harassment, assault and/or pregnancy," the group said.
The chief executive of the NCS Trust made the following statement in response to The Telegraph’s report:
"While our policy does acknowledge that accommodation decisions are made on a case-by-case basis by our delivery partners, we would never condone any decision that leaves a young person feeling vulnerable or at risk. Like many organisations, we are developing our policies in the light of increased focus and awareness of this important and complex issue. However, our overarching mission is to ensure that all young people, whoever they are, can benefit from the NCS programme. If this poses challenges to our organisation, we will address them while always ensuring that every young person is safe."
It’s not the first case of a UK taxpayer-funded venture facing controversy. Last month, "The Family Sex Show" theater troop funded by the Arts Council England, was critically panned by concerned parents for the show’s "progressive" policies towards teaching children as young as five about sex. It ended up being canceled a short time later.