A transgender boy in New Jersey was told he is no longer allowed to participate in his Cub Scout pack because he was “born a girl.”
Joe Maldonado had been a member of Cub Scout Pack 87 for about a month before his mother Kristie received a call saying some of the parents of the other children in the group had complained about his gender identity.
Maldonado told USA Today that her son has been accepted as a boy at school for over a year now, adding that he was not hiding his trans identity from the Cub Scouts and no one seemed to have a problem.
“Not one of the kids said, ’You don’t belong here,’” she said about the other members of Joe’s pack.
“He was enjoying himself so much in the scouts,” Maldonado says. “So when I receive a phone call from head council, pretty much saying that he’s no longer allowed because of some of the parents, I was so angry.”
Joe was born as Jodi, but has identified as male for as long as he can remember, according to Maldonado. He legally changed his name two years ago.
Maldonado allowed her son to cut his hair short and come out as a boy before he began the second grade. She said Joe is accepted as a boy at school and that it was complaints from parents — not Joe’s fellow Scouts — that led to his ouster.
“It made me mad. I had a sad face, but I wasn’t crying. I’m way more angry than sad,” he said. “My identity is a boy. If I was them, I would let every person in the world go in. It’s right to do.”
Joe said that, although he was disappointed to be removed from the pack, he wouldn’t go back without receiving an apology first.
“How dare they judge me?” he said. “I don’t have to explain it. It’s the way I’m born.”
After years of backlash, the Boy Scouts have finally released their ban on gay Scouts and gay Scout leaders, but it appears they are now headed into new debates around the inclusion of transgender children.
“It’s pretty clear the Boy Scouts as a national organization have a decision to make,” said Justin Wilson, the executive director of Scouts for Equality. “Are they going to exclude a transgender boy for the first time or welcome transgender boys?”
Effie Delimarkos, the communications director for the Boy Scouts of America, said that the organization currently considers trans issues to be separate from their new gay-inclusive policies.
“No youth may be removed from any of our programs on the basis of his or her sexual orientation,” Delimarkos told USA Today. “Gender identity isn’t related to sexual orientation.”