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Boy Scouts reverse ban against transgender children

By Abbott Koloff

The Record (Hackensack, N.J.)

HACKENSACK, N.J. – An 8-year-old North Jersey transgender boy who was kicked out of the Cub Scouts was asked to rejoin in what amounts to a major shift in policy for the Boy Scout of America, which issued a statement on Monday night indicating that it’s opening its membership to transgender children.

“Starting today, we will accept and register youth in the Cub and Boy Scout programs based on the gender identity indicated on the application,” the Boy Scouts said in the statement. “Our organization’s local councils will help find units that can provide for the best interest of the child.”

Kristie Maldonado, of Secaucus, said she received a call on Monday night from the Northern New Jersey Council of the Boy Scouts telling her that her son, Joe, would be welcomed back as a cub scout.

The Boy Scouts had said last year that it checks birth certificates to determine eligibility but on Monday night said in the statement that “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 of heart came after The Record published a story about Joe in December. Kristie Maldonado had said last week that she filed a civil rights complaint against the Northern New Jersey Council of Boy Scouts, charging the group with discrimination.

Joe Maldonado had been a Cub Scout for about a month when he was told last year that he could no longer belong because he was born a girl. His story led to a national debate over the issue at a time that the Boy Scouts were emerging from a period of turmoil before they overturned bans against gay scouts and gay scouting leaders in recent years.

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