SECAUCUS, N.J. — A regional Boy Scouts of America council in New Jersey banned an 8-year-old boy from Scouting because he is transgender, his family says.
Joe Maldonado, who was born a girl, has identified and lived as a boy for more than a year, his mother Kristie Maldonado told the Record of North Jersey.
Like many parents, she signed Joe up for the Cub Scouts. She says she made it clear that he was transgender when she signed him up — in Secaucus, New Jersey.
A month later, Kristie Maldonado received a call from an official from the Northern New Jersey Council of Boy Scouts saying Joe could no longer be a part of the organization, the newspaper reported.
“It made me mad,” Joe told the newspaper. “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.”
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Kristie Maldonado told television station WCBS in New York City that she thought other parents had issues with Joe being in the pack.
“They kicked me out because I am a girl — because I’m born a girl,” Joe told WCBS.
The Boy Scouts of America’s ban on gay scouts and leaders led to years of controversy. In 2013, the organization allowed openly gay scouts to participate in programs. Then, amid protests on both sides, the group decided to allow openly gay leaders in 2015.
But a statement from Boy Scouts of America spokeswoman Effie Delimarkos suggests the organization considers transgender children a different issue.
Though the Scouts declined to tell the Record or WCBS if the organization has a written policy on transgender participants, Delimarkos said Cub Scouts are for boys age 7 to 10, and that “the classification on the participant’s birth certificate” would be used to “confirm legal status.”
“No youth may be removed from any of our programs on the basis of his or her sexual orientation,” Delimarkos said. “Gender identity isn’t related to sexual orientation.”
She did not provide specific comment on Maldonado’s case nor did she specify whether the Boy Scouts have ever examined gender status on birth certificates.
Delimarkos told the Associated Press in July that the organization would accept transgender children to coed programs, but not to boys-only Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts.
In 2011, a Colorado Girl Scout troop accepted a transgender girl, the AP reported.