The Boy Scouts of America says it will allow transgender children who identify as boys to enroll in its boys only programs.
A transgender child in Secaucus, New Jersey, was asked late last year to leave his Scout troop after parents and leaders found out he is transgender. The boy, Joe Maldonado, sued his local New Jersey Boy Scouts' Council for discrimination after he was kicked out of his Cub Scout troop.
"I really don't know why. It's just no fair," he told NBC 4 New York in December, excitedly recalling the science experiments he performed in the Scouts, and the barbecues they had.
His mother said Joe has identified as a boy since he was two years old.
"The kids didn't have a problem," she told NBC 4 New York. "He was with all his friends, he was having fun."
The Boy Scouts of America announced Monday (January 30, 2017) that it had made the decision to base enrollment in boys only programs on the gender a child or parent lists on the application to become a scout. The organization had previously held a policy that relied on the gender listed on a child's birth certificate.
A spokeswoman for the organization says it made the decision based on states and communities changing how gender is defined.
"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, director of communications for the Boy Scouts of America.
Delimarkos said Monday "the BSA is committed to identifying program options that will help us truly serve the whole family, and this is an area that we will continue to thoughtfully evaluate to bring the benefits of Scouting to the greatest number of youth possible, all while remaining true to our core values, outlined in the Scout Oath and Law."