Joe Maldonado, an 8-year-old transgender boy who was born female, has been barred from his local Cub Scout troop, likely the first time a scouting organization has ever barred a child on the basis of gender identity.
As USA Today reports, Joe was born female but has been living as a boy, according to his sexual identity, for over a year. At school, he’s accepted as a boy and uses the boys’ restroom — a right granted to him by New Jersey law.
— Stefanie Dazio (@steffdaz) December 27, 2016
A month ago, Joe joined the Cub Scouts, where he was accepted as a boy by the other kids. His status as transgender was not a secret and was not an issue with the other boys.
“Not one of the kids said, ‘You don’t belong here.'”
Some parents in Joe’s Secaucus Cub Scouts troop, however, didn’t see things that way. She got a phone call from an official with the Northern New Jersey Council Boy Scout, who told her that some parents had complained and that Joe would no longer be welcome in his Cub Scouts troop.
“It 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.”
Across the country, the scouting world has been wrestling with how to handle matters of sexual orientation and sexual identity, and for a while it seemed like, no matter what they did, their decisions angered huge numbers of people. After wrestling with the issue and facing threats of boycotts whether they continued their long-standing ban on gay scouts or reversed it, the Boy Scouts of America eventually reversed their ban on gay scouts and gay scout leaders. The decision was made, once and for all, in July of 2015, as the New York Times reported at the time.
However, that decision did not reference sexual identity, and as of this writing, it appears that the Boy Scouts of America (and by extension, the Cub Scouts) does not have an official policy relating to sexual identity. A representative from the organization declined to say whether or not the scouts have a sexual identity policy. However, Effie Delimarkos, the communications director for the Boy Scouts of America, said in a statement that “the classification on the participant’s birth certificate” counts as “legal status” as far as the BSA is concerned.
For what it’s worth, the Girl Scouts and its affiliate organizations allow local troops to make decisions on a case-by-cases basis. And at least one transgender girl is known to be participating in the Girl Scouts. Earlier this year, the Inquisitr reported the story of Stormi, an Illinois Girl Scout who was born male but identifies as female. Stormi turned the tables on a bully who refused to buy Girl Scout Cookies from her, calling her a “boy in a dress,” and sold thousands of boxes after her story went viral.
— BuzzFeed (@BuzzFeed) February 1, 2016
Back in New Jersey, none of that matters to Joe Maldonado. He was just looking forward to camping, doing science experiments, and other fun Cub Scouts activities with his friends. Now, he won’t be able to. He also says that, even if he’s offered his spot in his old troop back, he won’t go unless he gets an apology.
“How dare they judge me? I don’t have to explain it. It’s the way I’m born.”
Do you believe Joe Maldonado’s Cub Scouts troop was right to ban him because he’s transgender?
[Featured Image by Joseph Sohn/Shutterstock]