The Boy Scouts of America officially announced on Monday through a statement that it would permit transgender children to join the organization’s programs, but for Kristie Maldonado, the organization must still be accountable for making her son feel different. The organization previously made news after an 8-year-old transgender scout in Secaucus, New Jersey was asked to leave his troop after leaders and parents found out about his identity.
— CNN (@CNN) January 31, 2017
According to Canada’s CBC, a Boy Scouts of America representative contacted the boy’s mother telling her that her son may now re-enroll.
“I’m so grateful. I really am that they’re accepting and that there won’t be any issues. They [other transgender youth] won’t have to go through what my son went through. It’s a big change for everybody that all are accepted now. I’m so delighted that they finally called and they did say this, but I’m still angry.”
Maldonado wanted to make Boy Scouts aware that its leaders made a mistake for making her son feel inadequate. She said she would allow her son to return only if the leader responsible for the incident would leave.
Canada’s The Girl Guides made a change in its guidelines in 2015. The organization wanted to have an all-inclusive policy that would welcome “all persons who live their lives as females.”
The country is known as one of the most welcoming places for transgender individuals across the globe. Recently, news broke out about an internal operations bulletin by the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) which detailed new procedures that would accommodate transgender passengers, including their right to select the gender of the officer who would conduct the body search.
CBC reports that the bulletin was released in September 2016. The procedures instruct officers to be mindful of their words and actions when dealing with a trans person.
“Never ask if someone is transgender or transsexual. Instead, when a physical search is required and you are unsure about a person’s gender status, ask them if they would prefer that the search be conducted by a male or female screening officer.”
Passengers are likewise allowed to ask for a “split search” which means two different-gendered officers will conduct the search. Travelers may also request for the physical search to be conducted privately.
CATSA reportedly sought the help of the Egale Canada Human Rights Trust in drafting the procedure. Executive director Helen Kennedy hopes that the ground staff will understand the reason behind the procedures and not think of them as nuances.
“It’s important to have policies and have them accurate and authentic, but it’s something completely different to have the staff on the ground doing this understand what it actually means. I want to respect the fact that they have taken this initiative, but at the same time, if you want to do it authentically you have to do it right.”
Last year, the country introduced a federal legislation guaranteeing the protection of the legal and human rights of transgender people in Canada. The Bill C-16 allows Canadians to “be free to identify themselves and to express their gender as they wish while being protected against discrimination and hate.”
The country already has the Canadian Human Rights Act which protects people from being discriminated because of their sexual orientation. Furthermore, Canada was one of the first in the world to pass the Civil Marriage Act which recognizes same-sex marriage.
Canada’s human rights milestones have been met with gratitude. Ten-year-old transgender girl Charlie Lowthian Rickert told CBC that the initiatives made her feel safer.
“It will protect us from, as the minister of justice said, hateful propaganda, assaults, rape — stuff like that. It could protect us and stop the people who would have just gone off and done it in the past, and discriminated or assaulted us but now it could be stopping them and basically punishing them if they actually do it.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau previously encouraged all Canadians to be a part of the country’s aspiration to end the prejudice endured by the transgender members of the community. Trudeau believes that there’s still much to be done, but they won’t stop from fighting for the people who are still facing harassment for who they really are.
One of the notable instances of discrimination was when Canadian actress and model Gigi Loren was barred from entering Dubai because her passport indicated that she’s a man. Originally born as Gregory Allan Lazzarato, the 25-year-old was reportedly told at the Dubai International Airport that she wouldn’t be allowed to enter “because she’s a transgender.”
A Gulf News source claimed that Gigi wasn’t permitted to enter not because of her sexual orientation, but because of the inconsistency in her passport. Her passport reportedly showed details of a man including the photo. She had her name officially changed in 2014.
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