Bad calls

Transphobic parents helped get an 8-year-old boy kicked out of their Cub Scouts chapter

CBS News

A New Jersey mother says her 8-year-old son was booted out of their local Cub Scouts chapter because he is transgender, just a month after he was first allowed to join.

The Record reports that 8-year-old Joe Maldonado had been a member of Cub Scout Pack 87 in Secaucus for about a month when a local scouting official called his mother to say he could no longer be a part of the group after some parents complained.

“It made me mad,” Maldonado told the paper. “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.”

Maldonado’s mother, Kristie, said she was shocked by the call because they hadn’t kept her son’s gender identity a secret, and he was accepted as a boy at school.

The Boy Scouts of America, which runs Cub Scouts, has a checkered history of dealing with LGBTQ rights, but appeared to be making progress in recent years. In 2015, the organization lifted bans on openly gay kids and adults participating in scouting groups but kept in place a loophole to allow religious groups to turn away leaders based on their sexuality.

BSA does not appear to have a formal, written policy about transgender scouts. The local Boy Scouts did not respond to questions from Fusion, but referred other media outlets to the national organization, which released a statement that was fairly hostile to transgender kids.

“No youth may be removed from any of our programs on the basis of his or her sexual orientation,” the statement by communications director Effie Delimarkos read. “Gender identity isn’t related to sexual orientation.”

The statement also said that Boy Scouts is for children who are identified as boys on their birth certificates.

In the scouting world, this hang-up is unique to the Boy Scouts. The Girl Scouts have long had an inclusive membership policy that allows any child who identifies as female to join:

Placement of transgender youth is handled on a case-by-case basis, with the welfare and best interests of the child and the members of the troop/group in question a top priority. That said, if the child is recognized by the family and school/community as a girl and lives culturally as a girl, then Girl Scouts is an organization that can serve her in a setting that is both emotionally and physically safe.

BSA told CBS News that it offered Maldonado a spot in its “family alternative, co-ed programs,” which seems like a a very wordy way of saying “sorry, not sorry.” Either way, Kristie Maldonado said she’s not interested.

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