Boy Scouts In Cross Hairs Over Latest Issue
The Boy Scouts of America have been a staple of this country for many years. The program has allowed young boys to learn things such as making campfires, tying knots and also making a wicker basket with water—it’s one of their more lackluster merit badges. Those who made it Eagle Scout are considered of a higher quality for their dedication and it looks good on a college application.
However, the Boy Scouts organization is having a tough time dealing with LGBTQ issues-even if they seem to be making progress. Just last year, they finally lifted the ban on having gay Scout leaders after a lot of public criticism.
“On Monday July 27 the national executive board ratified a resolution removing the national restriction on openly gay leaders and employees,” Boy Scouts of America President Robert Gates said last July. “This resolution will allow chartered organizations to select adult leaders without regard to sexual orientation, continuing Scouting’s longstanding policy of chartered organizations selecting their leaders.”
Now, they seem to be under fire because of 8-year old Joe Maldonado. Joe, formerly known as Jodi, was told by the New Jersey chapter that he is no longer welcomed to hang out with his Cub Scout friends. Their reasoning is Joe was born a girl, even though he is a transgender child.
“I felt very upset but then very angry because it’s just not fair that because I was born a girl they won’t let me in,” Joe told CNN.
Joe spent a few months with the organization before it made the decision that he couldn’t continue. According to the Boy Scouts and Joe’s mother Kristie, the organization said that it “goes by the birth certificate, what you were born with.”
The Boy Scouts of America released a statement through its communications director Effie Delimarkos on the situation.
“[Joe] does not meet the eligibility requirements to participate in this program,” she said. The statement also said that the Boy Scouts referred him to alternative programs courtesy of CNN. She also reiterated that the Boy Scouts of America “defer to the information provided for an individual’s birth certificate and their biological sex.”
But there are some who feel that this kind of rejection on the part of the Boy Scouts of America is not only harmful to Joe but also unnecessary.
“This early experience of discrimination for these children is an unnecessary message of rejection,” Dr. Johanna Olson-Kennedy, the Medical Director of the Center for Trans-youth Health and Development at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles said to CNN.
As for Joe, he has told the media that he doesn’t “want to go back to that chapter because they kicked me out when I was having so much fun and they ruined it.”