Boy Scouts of America to begin accepting transgender boys

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By Curtis Skinner

<span class="articleLocation”>The Boy Scouts of America said on Monday the
group would begin accepting transgender boys, bucking its more
than a century-old practice of using the gender stated on a
birth certificate to determine eligibility.

“Starting today, we will accept and register youth in the
Cub and Boy Scout programs based on the gender identity
indicated on the application,” Boy Scouts of America
communications director Effie Delimarkos said in an emailed
statement.

Delimarkos cited shifting definitions of gender under state
laws, which can “vary widely from state to state,” in explaining
the change.

She said that while the organization offers programs for all
youths, its Cub and Boy Scout programs are specifically for
boys. The change will allow children to apply even if male is
not listed on their birth certificate.

Advocacy group Scouts for Equality applauded the move: “This
is another historic day for the Boy Scouts of America. The
decision to allow transgender boys to participate in the Cub
Scouts and the Boy Scouts is an important step forward for this
American institution.”

In 2013, the Boy Scouts voted to lift a ban on openly gay
scouts that had been in place throughout the organization’s history after gay rights advocates gathered petitions with more
than 1.8 million signatures in support of ending the ban.

Support also came from some of the biggest American
churches, including the Mormons and the Methodists, two of the
largest scouting sponsors in the United States.

Two years later, the organization lifted its blanket ban on
gay adult leaders after its president, former U.S. Defense
Secretary Robert Gates, called the ban “unsustainable” in the
face of numerous lawsuits challenging the policy on grounds of
discrimination.

The Boy Scouts of America, whose stated mission is to
prepare youth for life and leadership, has nearly 2.3 million
members between the ages of 7 and 21 and roughly 960,000
volunteers in local councils throughout the country, according
to its website.



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