The Boy Scouts of America announced Monday that they will change their enrollment policy for new scouts to allow transgender boys to become members.
The Boy Scouts had previously relied on a birth certificate to determine the gender of a prospective scout in the boys-only program, the Washington Post reports.
However, following Monday’s announcement, the Boy Scouts of America made it clear that the membership form would now allow a child or parent to fill in the gender they identify with, opening the door for transgender children to join the Boy Scouts.
“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 organization said in a statement. “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.”
The change in enrollment goes into effect immediately.
In December, an eight-year-old Secaucus, New Jersey child named Joe Maldonado was kicked out of the Cub Scouts after parents discovered that the scout was born a girl.
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In a statement regarding Maldonado’s case, the Boy Scouts of America said, “It was brought to our attention that their child does not meet the eligibility requirements to participate in this program, so Boy Scouts of America (BSA) leadership reached out to the family to inform them and share information on alternative programs.”
The change in the application process comes nearly a year and a half after the Boy Scouts announced they would let openly gay leaders work for the organization, ending a longtime ban on gay scouts and leaders.
In the case of Maldonado, the Boy Scouts of America said in December, “No youth may be removed from any of our programs on the basis of his or her sexual orientation. Gender identity isn’t related to sexual orientation,” Northjersey.com reported.