The Boy Scouts of America are taking a huge leap in the name of tolerance and acceptance. They will now allow children who were born female but identify as male to join their programs.
They issued a statement saying: “For more than 100 years, the Boy Scouts of America, along with schools, youth sports and other youth organizations, have ultimately deferred to the information on an individual’s birth certificate to determine eligibility for our single-gender programs. However, that approach is no longer sufficient as communities and state laws are interpreting gender identity differently, and these laws vary widely from state to state.”
From now on, they will look to fill out the enrollment application based on the child’s gender identity rather than the gender on a birth certificate. This decision came shortly after a case in which an 8-year-old child was asked to leave his Scout troop when the leader discovered that he was transgender.
Kristie Maldonado, the mother of the young boy, received a phone call on Monday night welcoming her son back to the Boy Scouts. She said: “I’m so grateful. I really am that they’re accepting and that there won’t be any issues. They (other transgender youth) won’t have to go through what my son went through. It’s a big change for everybody that all are accepted now … I’m so delighted that they finally called and they did say this, but I’m still angry.”
Zach Wahls, co-founder of the groups Scouts for Equality, called the decision unprecedented.
“The decision to allow transgender boys to participate in the Cub Scouts and the Boy Scouts is an important step forward for this American institution. We are incredibly proud of Joe Maldonado — the transgender boy from New Jersey whose expulsion last year ignited this controversy — and his mother Kristie for their courage in doing what they knew was right. We are also proud of the Boy Scouts for deciding to do the right thing.”
The new policy goes into effect immediately.