The Boy Scouts of America will begin allowing transgender boys to participate in its boys-only programs, effective immediately, the organization announced Monday.
“Starting today, we will accept and register youth in the Cub and Boy Scout programs based on the gender identity indicated on the application,” said an emailed statement from the BSA, according to Reuters.
“For more than 100 years, the Boy Scouts of America, along with schools, youth sports and other youth organizations, have ultimately deferred to the information on an individual’s birth certificate to determine eligibility for our single-gender programs,” the statement said. “However, that approach is no longer sufficient as communities and state laws are interpreting gender identity differently, and these laws vary widely from state to state.” Local Boy Scout councils will help find the right unit for each child, the statement noted.
BSA officials considered the fact that an 8-year-old transgender boy was asked to leave his Cub Scout troop in New Jersey, but the national discussion and evolving attitudes around gender identity constituted the primary reason for the change, a spokeswoman told the Associated Press.
The BSA lifted its ban on gay scouts in 2013 and on gay adult volunteers and staff in 2015, with a religious exemption. The Girl Scouts organization, which is separate, has had a nondiscrimination policy on sexual orientation and gender identity for several years.