When 8-year-old Joe Maldonado joined the Cub Scouts in October, he was excited to go on camping trips and work on science projects with the rest of his troop in Secaucus, New Jersey. But just one month later, he was asked to leave and was told he would no longer be allowed to participate because he was born a girl, his mother told The Record.
“It made me mad,” Joe told The Record. “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.”
His mother, Kristie Maldonado, told The Record that she was surprised when she got the call notifying her that Joe was no longer allowed in the Cub Scouts — he had been openly transgender for about a year prior to being kicked out, and Kristie believes that complaints from other parents, not his fellow Scouts, led to the Boy Scouts’ decision.
“Not one of the kids said, ‘You don’t belong here,'” she told The Record.
policy dictates that “[i]t is the philosophy of Scouting to welcome all eligible youth, regardless of race, ethnic background, or sexual orientation” (the Boy Scouts began to allow gay members in 2013), spokeswoman Effie Delimarkos told the Associated Press that “gender identity isn’t related to sexual orientation.”
In a statement to Refinery29, Delimarkos declined to comment on whether or not the Boy Scouts has a policy on transgender members, but said, “The BSA grants youth membership to Cub Scouts to boys in the first through fifth grades, or 7 to 10 years of age. If needed, we defer to the information provided for an individual’s birth certificate and their biological sex.”
“Scouting teaches its youth members and adult leaders to be respectful of other people and individual beliefs,” Delimarkos added.
Justin Wilson, the executive director of Scouts for Equality told AP that Boy Scouts had not been known to reject any member on the basis of gender identity before Maldonado’s case, and said that he knew of at least two other members (one in New York and one in an unnamed southern state) who are also transgender.
While the Girl Scouts allow and publicly support transgender members, this case makes clear that the Boy Scouts’ stance is much murkier. We hope that the Boy Scouts will soon consider adding a written policy that includes members regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity.
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