Boy Scouts of America to start admitting transgender children
This week the Boy Scouts of America amended its policy to allow children to join the organization based on their gender identity.
For one New Jersey mother, this ruling means the world. "I’m ecstatic for everyone that they don’t have to go through what my child went through,” Kristie Maldonado, 43, told Time.
Time reports Maldonado filed a civil rights complaint with the state against the Northern New Jersey Boy Scouts chapter for booting her son last year when they found out he had been born female.
“Just knowing that he can go back to his Scouts and knowing that he’s accepted, it means a lot,” the mother admitted to Time. But Maldonado went on to say she will be registering her son at a different chapter than he originally joined.
The Maldonado family is taking the announcement as a personal "win" in the fight for transgender rights. But the Boy Scouts didn't specifically acknowledge the suit when releasing a video statement declaring the new policy earlier this week.
"We've taken the opportunity to evaluate and update our approach. I hope you'll join with me in embracing the opportunity to bring scouting to more families and children who can benefit from what our organization has to offer," Chief Scout Executive Michael Surbaugh said, according to CNN.
Surbaugh also pointed out that the overarching ruling by the organization was meant to override state lines and the varying gender identity laws that go with them. “Communities and state laws are now interpreting gender identity differently than society did in the past," Surbaugh said, according to the Washington Post. "We realized that referring to birth certificates as the reference point is no longer sufficient."
The Boy Scouts' updated policy is in line with what other youth organizations around the country are implementing. The Girl Scouts, for example, announced back in 2015 that they would welcome transgender girls into their organization.
“This is another historic day for the Boy Scouts of America. The decision to allow transgender boys to participate in the Cub Scouts and the Boy Scouts is an important step forward for this American institution,” Zach Wahls, the co-founder of Scouts for Equality said, according to the Washington Post.
But this isn't the only modern-day policy change the Boy Scouts have made recently. CNN reports that, in 2015, the organization lifted its ban on having gay scout leaders and, in 2013, allowed openly gay children to be a part of the organization.