NJ Civil Rights Group Urges Boy Scouts to Reinstate Transgender Child
A statewide gay and lesbian advocacy group, Garden State Equality, is urging the Boy Scouts of America to reinstate an 8-year-old transgender child who was forced out of Cub Scout Pack 87 after joining a month earlier.
Joe Maldonado was kicked out of his local Secaucus pack once parents began complaining that he was born a girl, according to a report by NorthJersey.com. The child's mother, Kristie Maldonado, said only the parents — not fellow scouts — took issue with her son's gender identity.
In a petition, Garden State Equality demands that the Boy Scout's policy on accepting gay youth be extended to transgender children, writing "The Boy Scouts should accept transgender boys as boys, and treat Joe and other transgender kids with the respect all children deserve."
The group also states that the state Law Against Discrimination should protect Joe Maldonado from judgement based on gender identity and gender expression.
Garden State Equality began working with the Maldonado family in the summer of 2015, when Kristie Maldonado reached out to the group for help in easing her son's transition in school.
"We were devastated when Kristie shared with us that the Boy Scouts asked her to remove Joe from the Cub Scouts because other parents complained that a transgender child was participating. Joe is a confident young person and he has shown tremendous courage," the petition reads.
As of Thursday afternoon, the petition had garnered more than 1,200 signatures, with a goal set at 2,500.
The petition compared Maldonado's situation to a case dating back nearly three decades ago, when New Jersey Eagle Scout James Dale was kicked out of the Boy Scouts after pack leaders discovered he was co-president of the Lesbian/Gay Alliance at his university. Twenty-six years later, the Boy Scouts announced gay scout leaders would not be barred from joining the organization.
"We will not wait another 26 years," the group wrote.
Unlike the Girl Scouts of the USA, it wasn't until 2013 that Boy Scouts of America began allowing openly gay youths to join the organization.
Last year, the Girl Scouts made headlines after a Western Washington chapter rejected a $100,000 gift given by a donor on the condition that it would not be used for transgender girls, according to a report by The Washington Post.
Andrea Bastiani Archibald, chief girl expert at GSUSA, wrote of the situation, "There is not one type of girl. Every girl's sense of self, path to it, and how she is supported is unique... As we face a complex and rapidly changing 21st century, our nation needs all girls to reach their full potential."