The Boy Scouts of America said Monday (30 January) that transgender boys will be allowed to be members.
The announcement comes as the organization is being sued by the family of 8 year old Joe Maldonado who was kicked out of his troop in New Jersey for being transgender.
‘Starting today, we will accept and register youth in the Cub and Boy Scout programs based on the gender identity indicated on the application,’ said Effie Delimarkos, the BSA’s director of communications said in a statement.
‘Our organization’s local councils will help find units that can provide for the best interest of the child.’
The Maldonado lawsuit claims the Northern New Jersey Council of Boy Scouts violated state law protecting against discrimination based on gender identity.
The boy has identified as male since he was two years old and was accepted into the Scouts last October.
But after some parents complained, his mother was asked to ‘prove’ her son was a boy and was told the group only allowed boys based on their birth certificate and biological sex.
Delimarkos explained in her statement: ‘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.’
The Boy Scouts of America decided to finally end its ban on openly gay scouts in 2013.
Then two years later the organization also lifted the ban on scouts over the age of 18 which also applied to adults leaders and employees of the organization.
But it remained unclear if there was actually a policy that applied to transgender members.