The deciding factor for membership is the perceived gender, not the one on the birth certificate. The exclusion of an eight-year-old had sparked the debate.
Whether lynx, wolf, tiger cub, boy, girl, trans boy or trans girl: All are now welcome at the scouts Photo: dpa
The traditional U.S. Boy Scouts organization will in the future also accept transgender children and young people in its ranks. The deciding factor for membership is now the perceived gender of those interested and not the gender recorded on their birth certificate, Boy Scout chief Michael Surbaugh explained on Monday.
Views have changed on the issue of gender identity, Surbaugh explained. "We realized that the birth certificate was no longer enough of a reference point." Anyone who feels like a boy can now become a member of the Boy Scouts.
The debate in the Boy Scouts over how to deal with transgender people had been set in motion by the Joe Maldonado case. A Boy Scouts group in New Jersey had excluded the eight-year-old child, who felt he was a boy, last year because he had been born a girl. The exclusion had been strongly protested by Joe’s mother and human rights groups.
The decision to admit transgender members represents another step toward opening the Boy Scouts to sexual minorities. Until 2013, they had refused membership to homosexuals on principle. Then in 2015, homosexuals were also admitted as group leaders.
With 2.3 million members, the Boy Scouts are one of the largest youth organizations in the USA. Around one million adults are involved in volunteering there.