Dawn Ennis at LGBTQ Nation reports:
One month after 8-year-old Joe Maldonado of Secaucus, N.J. joined Cub Scout Pack 87, his mother received a call that the troop sponsored by their local Catholic church had barred her son from participating. The reason, she told reporters, is because her son was assigned the gender of female at birth. Joe is a transgender boy.
And he told the Star-Ledger he’s not so much sad as he is mad.
“It made me mad. I had a sad face, but I wasn’t crying. I’m way more angry than sad. My identity is a boy. If I was them, I would let every person in the world go in. It’s right to do.”
He had joined in October with the intention of camping, conducting science experiments, and all the other fun things Cub Scouts do, like learning how to tie a variety of knots, use a pocket knife, and go on hikes with his friends. Joe’s classmates not only like him, his mother said, but some of them play with him on a boys basketball team. His school teachers have used male pronouns and have accepted him as the boy he is since second grade, Kristie Maldonado told the newspaper.
“Not one of the kids said, ‘You don’t belong here,’” said Maldonado. It wasn’t the boys in their pack; reportedly, it was their moms.
Eric Chamberlin, an executive with the Northern New Jersey Council of Boy Scouts, based in Oakland, N.J., confirmed to the paper that he called Maldonado last month, but he declined to comment further.
Effie Delimarkos, the communications director for the Boy Scouts of America, told the Star-Ledger in a statement the Boy Scouts consider membership for transgender children to be a separate issue from that of gay children.
“No youth may be removed from any of our programs on the basis of his or her sexual orientation,” and “Gender identity isn’t related to sexual orientation.”
The Boy Scouts spokeswoman declined to directly address the Secaucus troop issue and did not answer inquiries about whether local or state Scouting leaders contacted the national office about Joe Maldonado.
But in her statement, Delimarkos made it clear that “the classification on the participant’s birth certificate” would be used to “confirm legal status.”
Chamberlin did not ask to examine Joe’s birth certificate, the boy’s mother told the paper. If the Boy Scouts have ever examined birth certificates for the gender markers, Delimarkos wouldn’t say. And she declined to say whether the Scouts have a written transgender policy.