The parents of a transgender child are outraged after the Boy Scouts of America kicked their 8-year-old out of a Cub Scouts troop for not being biologically male.
Joe Maldonado, who formerly went by Jodi, was part of Cub Scout Pack 87 in New Jersey for a month before being asked to leave.
“How dare they judge me?” the child told The Record newspaper. “I don’t have to explain it. It’s the way I’m born.”
The Boy Scouts recently opened membership and leadership opportunities to gay youth and adults. But the organization maintains gender identity is a different matter than sexual orientation for the purpose of scouting.
BSA spokesperson Effie Delimarkos said Joe does not meet eligibility requirements to join the Boy Scouts. She said the Boy Scouts was not aware that Joe was not biologically male at the time of registration.
“During the process, it was brought to our attention that their child does not meet the eligibility requirements to participate in this program, so Boy Scouts of America leadership reached out to the family to inform them and share information on alternative programs,” Ms. Delimarkos said in a statement.
“If needed, we defer to the information provided for an individual’s birth certificate and their biological sex,” she continued. “Scouting teaches its youth members and adult leaders to be respectful of other people and individual beliefs.”
In 2013, the Boy Scouts removed the membership ban on gay youth. The ban on gay troop leaders was rescinded a year later, but faith-based troops are still allowed to consider sexual orientation in choosing a scoutmaster.
Garden State Equality, which said it has worked with the Maldonado family to help Joe transition at school, said it was “devastated” by the Boy Scouts’ decision.
“Garden State Equality believes that the Boy Scouts of America’s policy on accepting gay youth should extend to transgender youth,” the group said in a statement. “We also believe that the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, which protects New Jerseyans from discrimination on the basis of gender identity and gender expression, should extend to this case.”
The Girl Scouts of the United States of America has allowed transgender children to join troops for several years.