The NJ boy who was initially kicked out of his local Cub Scouts troop until the organization overturned its ban against transgender boys is back to scouting. Joe Maldonado, 9, was welcomed into Essex County's Pack 20 last night. He said, "This is fun; I'm so proud... I am accepted, and I'm actually in Boy Scouts."
And maybe get some tissues ready:
Joe had been a Cub Scout for a few weeks last year until his mother got a call from the group. According to the Record, "Kristie Maldonado said she was stunned because her son had been a member of Cub Scout Pack 87 in Secaucus for about a month and his transgender status had not been a secret. But some parents complained, an official from the Northern New Jersey Council of Boy Scouts told her — even though her son had been living as a boy for more than a year and was accepted as a boy at school, she said."
As Maldonado indicated that she would take legal action, last week, the Boy Scouts announced, "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. 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 Boy Scouts of America is committed to identifying program options that will help us truly serve the whole family, and this is an area that we will continue to thoughtfully evaluate to bring the benefits of Scouting to the greatest number of youth possible—all while remaining true to our core values, outlined in the Scout Oath and Law."
Many parents involved in the Maplewood, NJ troop told the Record that they supported Joe's presence. Jessica Breen explained, "We said, ‘We have to reach out to this child,'" and her husband Robert was impressed the Boy Scouts moved so quickly, "I thought it would happen in three to four years." However: "But one parent, who declined to provide his name, approached a reporter and said that he was not happy about the Boy Scouts’ change of policy."
The Boy Scouts of America said they are "pleased to welcome Joe and the Maldonado family back into the Scouting community. Moving forward, the BSA will continue to work to bring the benefits of our programs to as many children, families and communities as possible."