By reversing a century-old stance, BSA proves it’s with the times.
On January 30, the Boy Scouts of America made the kind of progressive change that seems few and far between these days. The 107-year-old organization announced it will now admit all scouts who identify as boys, including transgender children.
This announcement comes after a recent case in Secaucus, New Jersey involving an 8-year-old boy kicked out of his troop once parents and leaders found out he was transgender. The decision has since been reversed. Now, the BSA is updating its understanding of what it means to be a boy.
"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," the statement said. "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 will now enroll members based on the gender listed on their application, rather what’s listed on their birth certificate. This decision is yet another step forward for an organization that lifted its ban on openly gay leadership only two years ago.
While the BSA’s progress has been slow, the inclusion of transgender scouts proves that even old-school American institutions can get with the times.
It should also be noted that the national organization of Girl Scouts has openly welcomed transgender scouts for years.