8-Year-Old Transgender Boy Scout's Fight Spurs Outpouring of Support
Joe Maldonado had been a member of Cub Scout Pack 87 in Secaucus, New Jersey for only a month before his mother, Kristie Maldonado, received a call from one of its counselors.
She was told that her 8-year-old was not welcome back.
"I think it was some of the parents who had some issues," Kristie Maldonado remarked upon receiving the call.
North Jersey News, which broke the story, emphasized that while the 8-year-old's transgender status was no secret, the organization has never officially welcomed transgender boys. Meanwhile, Girl Scouts of the USA, admits transgender girls without question. Likewise they did not institute the controversial prohibition on gay scouts either.
"They kicked me out because I'm a girl," Joe Maldonado told WCBS.
The 8-year-old identifies as a boy at his public school in New Jersey and has for over a year.
Effie Delimarkos, the communications director for the Boy Scouts of America, stated in response that Cub Scout programs would refer to “the classification on the participant’s birth certificate” to “confirm legal status" for boys between the ages of 7 and 10.
“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," Delimarkos stated.
But activist organizations like Garden State Equality and Scouts for Equality are standing by Joe.
“It’s pretty clear the Boy Scouts as a national organization have a decision to make. Are they going to exclude a transgender boy for the first time or welcome transgender boys?” asked Justin Wilson, executive director of Scouts for Equality, who personally knows two other transgender boy scouts.
Garden State Equality's online petition garnered over 1,000 signatures for Joe in just 48 hours.
"Garden State Equality believes that the Boy Scouts of America’s policy on accepting gay youth should extend to transgender youth. We also believe that the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, which protects New Jerseyans from discrimination on the basis of gender identity and gender expression should extend to this case," the petition read.