As the United States takes one giant leap backwards, the Boy Scouts of America are moving in the other direction.
Effective immediately, transgender children who identify as boys will be allowed to enlist in its programs.
“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,” read a statement issued yesterday.
“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.”
The boys-only organization, which has around two-and-a-half million participants, will now accept the gender a child or parent lists on the application to become a scout.
A recent case in New Jersey that saw an 8-year-old transgender child being asked to leave his Scout troop after parents and leaders found out he is transgender spurred the change of policy.
“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,” said the boy’s mother, Kristie Maldonado Maldonado. “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.”
Boy Scouts Canada, as well as the United States’ Girl Scouts organization, has accepted transgender members for years.
“Scouts Canada is committed to social justice including the promotion of gender and member diversity at all levels of the organization, both in its structures and programs and to the elimination of discrimination on the groups of race, gender, ethnicity, financial ability, sexual orientation, religion, disability or age,” reads a bylaw enacted by Boy Scouts Canada.