About a month after a transgender boy in New Jersey joined a Cub Scouts pack, his mother said she received a call from a scouting official explaining that her son could no longer participate because he was born a girl, The Record reported Tuesday.
While the 8-year-old boy’s fellow scouts didn’t take issue with his chosen identity, according to his family, local parents complained.
Open about his status as a transgender individual, Joe Maldonado joined Cub Scout Pack 87 in Secaucus. For more than a year, Joe, formerly Jodi, has identified as a boy, according to CBS.
“Not one of the kids said, ‘You don’t belong here,’” his mother, Kristie Maldonado, told The Record. “They all know Joe as when he was Jodi,” she later told CBS. Parents, however, did oppose her son’s inclusion in the pack, Kristie said the official told her.
In a statement provided to VICE News, Boy Scouts of America communications director Effe Delimarkos explained, without mentioning a name or location, that a family had started the process of registering their child when the organization became aware the child did not “meet the eligibility requirements to participate in this program.”
“The BSA grants youth memberships to Cub Scouts to boys in the first through fifth grades, or 7 to 10 years of age. If needed, we defer to the information provided for an individual birth certificate and their biological sex,” her statement continued. The Boy Scouts do allow both genders in certain programs — just not membership to the Scouts specifically.
“No youth may be removed from any of our programs on the basis of his or her sexual orientation,” Delimarkos told The Record earlier. She also noted that “gender identity isn’t related to sexual orientation.”
Amid growing backlash over its handling of sexual orientation, in 2015 the Boy Scouts reversed a long-held policy and allowed gay youth and leaders to join the organization.
Justin Wilson, the executive director for Scouts for Equality, a nonprofit organization not affiliated with the Boy Scouts of America, told The Record that he knows of at least two other transgender Boy Scouts: one in an unnamed state in the South, the other in New York.
The Girl Scouts of America also publicly welcomed transgender individuals in May 2015, although an official noted the position was “not new.”