The Boy Scouts of America announced yesterday that they will accept transgender youth into their club and will now recognize the gender listed on an application rather than on the child’s biological gender.
USA Today is reporting on the announcement which reverses a policy that has been in place for more than a century.
“For more than 100 years, the BSA, along with schools, youth sports and other youth organizations, ultimately deferred to the information on an individual’s birth certificate to determine eligibility for and participation in many programs, especially single-gender programs,” chief scout Michael Surbaugh said in a recorded statement published Monday to the organization’s website.
“After weeks of significant conversations at all levels of our organization, we realize that referring to birth certificates as the reference point is no longer sufficient. Communities and state laws are now interpreting gender identity differently, and these new laws vary widely from state to state,” he said.
Even though the Scouts did not say this, many believe the decision came as a result of a challenge by a New Jersey girl, Jodi Maldonado, who began identifying as a boy in 2015. She was admitted to a local Cub Scout pack for about a month but was then told by the scout leader that she had to leave.
The move angered Jodi’s mother, Kristie Maldonado, who recently claimed she was going to file a discrimination complaint against the Boy Scouts on behalf of her child. After hearing the news yesterday, she told the Associated Press that she was “grateful” for the decision and wants her child to rejoin the troop in her hometown of Secaucus, but only if the scout leader who blocked Jodi leaves.
“It’s a big change for everybody that all are accepted now,” Maldonado told the AP. “I’m so delighted that they finally called and they did say this, but I’m still angry.”
The new policy goes into effect immediately and are reassuring concerned parents that local councils “will help find units that can provide for the best interest of the child.”
Thus far, the Church in the U.S. has made no official statement about the policy change.
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