Says his mom: ‘Not one of the kids said, “You don’t belong here”‘
Joe Maldonado had been a member of Cub Scout Pack 87 in Secaucus, New Jersey, for about a month without incident.
It was no secret that the 8-year-old scout is transgender. He had been living as a boy for more than a year both at home and at school.
“Not one of the kids said, “You don’t belong here,”‘ his mom, Kristie Maldonado, tells USA Today.
Then some parents complained and the mother got a call from an official from the Northern New Jersey Council of Boy Scouts.
Joe was being kicked out of his scout pack because he is transgender.
The elementary school student was stoic when he found out.
‘It made me mad,’ he said. ‘I had a sad face, but I wasn’t crying. I’m way more angry than sad. My identity is a boy. If I was them, I would let every person in the world go in. It’s right to do.’
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’s unclear if there is actually a policy that applies to transgender members.
Boy Scouts of America Communications Director Effie Delimarkos said the organization considers membership for transgender children to be a separate issue from that of gay children.
‘No youth may be removed from any of our programs on the basis of his or her sexual orientation,’ she said.
Then she added: ‘Gender identity isn’t related to sexual orientation.’