Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Boy Scouts of America Says Trans Boys Are Boys and Can Join

By Sabrina Samone, TMP

While we watch the new #notourpresident attack one group after the next through his Executive Orders, we have at least some good major news so far this year.  Boy Scouts of America says it will begin accepting members based on their gender identity, opening the door for transgender boys to join.

Under the new policy, which takes effect immediately, membership in the Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts will be based on the gender indicated on an application. Previously, the organization had relied on an individuals birth certificate to determine eligibility for it's single gender programs.

This is welcome news to the growing number of trans kids with supportive families, that are fortunate to live their authentic selves. According to recent Federal data by the Williams Institute, nearly 1.4 million Americans openly identify as transgender. The data estimates that there are 150,000 trans youth between the ages of 13-17 years of age. Unfortunately there is not an official count of younger trans kids for various reasons. Primarily due to the fact, Pediatricians generally do not ask patients about their gender identity, and if they do, they do not usually report findings in a national health registry.

The CDC, which analyze much of our behavioral health data, has tested ways for students to identify themselves as transgender. But it has not yet settled on a satisfactory method, and it does not expect to include such question in its Adolescent Health Survey before 2019.  Yet we do know that the medical community has reported a rise internationally, of transgender children seeking approval for transitional health care.

The shift is a significant one for the Boy Scouts, which ended a ban on gay scouts in 2013. In 2015, the organization decided to allow gay scout leaders, a decision that came months after a council in New York defied policy and hired an openly gay scout leader. Zack Wahls, the co-founder of Scouts for Equality said, "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."

Boy Scouts chief executive Michael Surbaugh said in a video message about today's announcement. "We realized that referring to birth certificates as the reference point is no longer sufficient. Communities and state laws are now interpreting gender identity differently than society did in the past. These new laws vary widely from state to state." He went on to say in reference to the policy taking effect immediately, "Our organizations local councils will help find units that can provide for the best interest of the child."

This is good news for young trans boys like  eight  year old, Joe Maldonado, who was recently kicked out his troop in New Jersey for being trans. He told The Record Newspaper, "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."

Back in 2012, The Girl Scouts of America went on record to accept a 7 year old transgender girl in, and later gained attention and love from the trans community, when they turned down a 100,000$ anti-trans donation.

The change now brings the Boy Scouts in line with the Girls Scouts, that have created transgender-friendly membership policies in recent years.

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