It was only last year that The Boy Scouts changed their policy around gay members, but a new controversy is already broiling after an 8-year-old transgender boy was kicked out of his Cub Scout troupe. Will this motivate the group to address even more concerns around changing attitudes about gender and sexuality?
USA Today's extensive report on the issue reveals that complaints from other parents prompted the removal of Joe Maldonado from the group only a month after he joined. "Not one of the kids said, 'You don’t belong here,’” Kristie Maldonado, Joe's mother, said of the Scouts in the pack.
“It made me mad,” Joe added. “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 incident is prompting investigation into what the Boy Scouts' policy actually on the matter actually is. This is the first time a child's gender identity has caused them to be removed from the group's programs.
“It’s pretty clear the Boy Scouts as a national organization have a decision to make,” said Justin Wilson, the executive director of Scouts for Equality. “Are they going to exclude a transgender boy for the first time or welcome transgender boys?” Wilson claims he knows of other transgender children who are in the Scouts but refused to give more information out of fear of retaliation against those kids.
Among the questions about the organization's policies are whether surgeries or changes on a birth certificate would be the official denotation of a member's gender and eligibility. At the moment, certain states require surgery before official documentation can be altered. Others do not.
Out noted the significant disparity between The Boy Scouts and their officially unaffiliated counterpart: "The Girl Scouts of America ... welcomes transgender girls 'if the child is recognized by the family and school/community as a girl and lives culturally as a girl,' according to the group’s website."
You can read the full report over here.
[Photo: Getty Images]