An 8-year-old from Secaucus, New Jersey has been banned from the Cub Scouts for being is transgender. Currently, the Boy Scouts of America’s policy is to only accept children whose sex is categorized as male on their birth certificate and currently the organization—known for its conservatism—declines to comment on if and when they’ll begin accepting transgender boys.
According to reporting by Abbot Koloff for NorthJersey.com, Joe Maldonado “had been a member of Cub Scout Pack 87 in Secaucus for about a month, and his transgender status had not been a secret.” Joe’s mom told NorthJersey.com of her son’s fellow scouts: “Not one of the kids said, ‘You don’t belong here.’” Some parents were reportedly the ones who complained about Joe’s status to the Northern New Jersey Council of Boy Scouts.
Joe, who calls the day he finally got to cut his hair short “the best day of my life,” has been living openly as a boy for over a year, and goes by male pronouns at school, where he is accepted for who he is, according to his mom. He was excited to join Cub Scouts, particularly for the camping and science elements of the organization and had enjoyed his month-long membership.
Koloff continues, writing of Joe’s mom:
She said she was not aware that anyone had a problem with her son being a member of the pack, which is hosted by Immaculate Conception Church, until she received a phone call from a council official. A spokesman for the Newark Roman Catholic Archdiocese said it had nothing to do with the Boy Scouts’ decision and the pastor of the church just recently learned of it. He declined further comment.
Maldonado said she was asked whether she would “testify” that her son was a boy. She asked how the official would know her son was born a girl. He told her, she said, that he heard about it when “some mothers called.” The official did not ask for a birth certificate, she said.
Joe adds that being kicked out of the Cub Scouts “made me mad. 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.”
According to NorthJersey.com, Joe might be the first scout to ever be kicked out of the Boy Scouts of America for being transgender. Over the past several years, the Boy Scouts of America has been in turmoil over their historic bans on gay scouts and scout leaders. Currently, troops are not allowed to discriminate against gay scouts, but scout leaders can still be discriminated against depending on the politics and bigotry of the individual troops.
As for their official stance on trans members, Koloff reports:
The Scouts declined to say whether they have a written transgender policy. Effie Delimarkos, the communications director for the Boy Scouts of America, said in a statement that the organization’s Cub Scouts programs are for boys between the ages of 7 and 10, and that “the classification on the participant’s birth certificate” would be used to “confirm legal status.” She did not provide additional details, and did not specify whether the Boy Scouts have ever examined gender statuses on birth certificates.
Earlier this year, the Boy Scouts told the Associated Press that it would admit transgender children to its coeducational programs, but not to programs that are for boys only, like the Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts. Yet transgender advocates said that the issue remained largely under the radar in scouting.
“No youth may be removed from any of our programs on the basis of his or her sexual orientation,” Delimarkos added. “Gender identity isn’t related to sexual orientation.”