Turning point

Boy Scouts of America will now accept transgender children into its ‘boys-only’ programs

Boy Scout Casey Chambers carries a rainbow flag during the San Francisco Gay Pride Festival in California (REUTERS/Noah Berger)

The Boy Scouts of America announced on Monday that enrollment in its ‘boys-only’ programs will no longer be based on the gender listed on a child’s birth certificate, but on the gender presented by a parent or child on the scout’s application form, reversing a policy that is more than a century old.

The organization’s statement said the decision reflected the ongoing conversation around gender identity: “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,” it read. “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.”

However, the decision comes a little more than a year after 8-year-old Joe Maldonado was asked to leave his scout troop in Secaucus, New Jersey, when leaders discovered he is transgender.

Following the decision, Kristie Maldonado, Joe’s mother, was contacted to say her son would now be welcome to re-enroll on his troop, which she said she would be happy for him to do if only the scout leader who kicked him out was asked to leave.

“I’m so grateful,” Maldonado said to The Associated Press. “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.”

The enrollment decision will be effective right away, the organization has said. For more on the story, watch the video below.

Read the full article at The Associated Press.

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