Society

Boy Scouts Will Allow Transgender Boys

| by Michael Allen

The Boy Scouts of America announced on Jan. 30 that it is going to allow transgender boys (born as girls) into scouting troops.

Effie Delimarkos, director of communications for the Boy Scouts of America, told BuzzFeed News in a statement: "Starting today, we will accept and register youth in the Cub and Boy Scout programs based on the gender identity indicated on the application."

Joe Maldonado, an 8-year-old transgender boy, was planning to file a complaint against the Scouts' Northern New Jersey Council this week, noted NJ.com on Jan. 27.

Joe's complaint -- that was going to be filed with New Jersey's Department of Law and Public Safety’s Civil Rights -- asserted that the council violated the state "public accommodation" law when it booted the youngster out in November 2016.

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Delimarkos said in December 2016 that Joe "does not meet the eligibility requirements to participate in this program," and that the Scouts "defer to the information provided for an individual's birth certificate and their biological sex," reported CNN.

Delimarkos had a different statement on Jan. 30, reports BuzzFeed News:

While we offer a number of programs that serve all youth, Cub Scouting and Boy Scouting are specifically designed to meet the needs of boys.

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.

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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.

Michael Surbaugh, the Chief Scout Executive, said in a recorded statement: "After weeks of significant conversations at all levels of our organization, we realized that referring to birth certificates as the reference point is no longer sufficient," notes The New York Times.

The organization ended its ban on openly gay scouts in 2013, and stopped discriminating against openly gay adult leaders in 2015.

Sources: BuzzFeed News, NJ.com, CNN, The New York Times / Photo credit: U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service - Northeast Region/Flickr

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