Joe Maldonado became one of the first transgender boys admitted into the Boy Scouts.

Joe Maldonado is a transgender boy from New Jersey who joined the Boy Scouts after the recent rule change.

Back on January 30, the Boy Scouts of America made a historic change by opening up membership to transgender boys. It’s a move that, unsurprisingly, has stirred up significant controversy. Some characterize the policy as sensible and compassionate – a welcome shift in mindset that will help promote tolerance. Others were less than thrilled, arguing that the Boy Scouts are validating a false notion of gender identity.

Can Children Be Transgender?

Skeptics have been quick to put forth concerns about the policy change. Among the loudest voices are that of parents who flat-out reject the notion that children can be transgender in the first place. They argue that girls who identify as boys are actually just confused children struggling to understand themselves. These parents are also concerned that allowing transgender boys to join may encourage other kids to question their biological gender.

Lingering Questions

The policy also raises some important logistical questions that troops must sort out. For example, will transgender boys sleep in the same area as the other scouts, or will they be given their own quarters for privacy? What bathroom accommodations will be made? Moving forward, these issues will have to be addressed.

No Strangers to Controversy

The Boy Scouts have faced numerous controversies over the years. For example, sexual abuse was rampant within the organization for a long time before the pattern was discovered. Although policies have since been implemented to limit adult-child contact, prior to 1994 there had been nearly 2,000 reports of abuse.

Religion has been another area of controversy for the Boy Scouts. As a self-professed spiritual organization, they actively prohibit atheists and agnostics from joining. However, the Boy Scouts do recognize many other religions besides Christianity. The organization doesn’t require adherence to any particular religious philosophy, but the handbook does say that a Scout must be “reverent toward God” and “faithful in his religious duties.”

Perhaps the most notable controversy involved its ban on gay people. For decades, homosexuality was expressly prohibited within the Boy Scouts. As social attitudes began to change in recent years, pressure mounted to allow gay children and scout leaders to join. In 2014, over 100 years after its founding, the Boy Scouts opened membership to gay boys and young men. Gay troop leaders were still prohibited for another 18 months, but that policy finally changed in July 2015.

Discrimination Continues

Although the policies at the national level are changing, many church-sponsored troops continue to prohibit certain groups from joining. Since they are technically owned by private religious organizations, these troops have the right to ignore the organization’s national policy. In all likelihood, they will continue to refuse admittance to transgender children. Many transgender advocates are concerned about this ongoing discrimination.

Dropping MembershipA troop of Boy Scouts hiking.

After the policy change was announced, some news outlets reported a high number of inquiries about alternatives to the Boy Scouts. Indeed, there is some concern that allowing transgender kids will cause an overall drop in membership if families feel that the Boy Scouts no longer represent their values. Early indications point to a possible backlash: Trail Life USA, which bills itself as Christian-focused alternative to the Boy Scouts, has seen its membership numbers skyrocket in recent weeks.

On the other hand, many people were supportive of the organization’s policy change. Reflecting this point of view, The New York Times opined:

“The Boy Scouts are recognizing transgender boys for what they genuinely are: boys. This extends the organization’s values and programs to a wider pool. It also may help a new generation of Americans think more rationally and compassionately about gender identity.”

Reactions

Back before the Boy Scouts allowed gay members, those opposed to the idea argued that gay troop leaders might use their position to promote homosexuality. However, that claim is now considered preposterous and ignorant. Proponents of including transgender youth in the organization say similar “boogeyman” arguments are again being employed, and that history will view this as a positive step forward. What do you think – should Boy Scout troops be open to transgender boys?

 

64 comments

  1. Guairdean says:

    I started liking little girls about the same time I figured out they weren’t little boys. I watched as my daughters went from defining other children as just that, children, to boys and girls. I saw the same thing in my grandsons. Their gender identity was there all along. I can’t see transgender children being any different. They are who they are from birth. Tomboys know they’re girls, they just enjoy a little more rough and tumble play. Boys that aren’t rough and tumble enjoy a more quiet play. Neither is transgender, they’re just not on the extremes of their gender. Transgender children know who they are, but the plumbing just doesn’t match. Trying to force binary extremes on children just shows the ignorance of the adults. Gender isn’t the “you is or you ain’t” world some would like it to be. It’s every shade of the rainbow. Let children be children, and let them be who they are. Trying to force them into one mold or the other makes as much sense, and does the same psychological damage, as re-education camps for non-heterosexuals.

    1. Carol Amina says:

      Your statements Guairdean are so warm hearted! thank you!!

    2. Amber Fry says:

      Absolutely true. I’ve noticed the same and agree with you on all points.

    3. James Lowrance says:

      Why do you want to force people to change their way of life just because it offends you. What will happen when of you decides to grope one of the other kids and that kid punches them? Is that a hate crime? Hell no! It is a normal reaction by a person who does NOT want to be touched.This is the question nobody wants to address. A child who is raised up to be a heterosexual and Identifies as such is not going to accept that kind of sexual assault on them.It is goes both ways. No one should ever touch another person unless they have permission to.

      1. Pamela Raintree says:

        The problem is that children are being reared to be heterosexual and cisgender. That just reflects the misconceptions and biases of adults in children’s lives. Sexual orientation and gender identity are not moral issues to be taught, and trying to force kids to fit into roles, that they don’t belong in, causes permanent psychological damage. It should be considered child abuse. Inappropriate touching is completely unrelated to the topic. It doesn’t matter who one is, it’s inappropriate and other children have a right to defend themselves against that.

    4. Francisco says:

      Definitely‼️ Transgender kids are OK. Stamp out Bigots.

    5. Jude says:

      Indeed. Very well put, thank you.

  2. Ronald Wolfe says:

    i spent nearly 40 years in the BSA, as a youth and leader,My personal opinion is as a private organization no one should be able to dictate who they open there membership to. IF someone who is gay or transgender wants to join a organization like the boy scouts or any other organization if they are not welcome then they should start there own organization.If i open a club at my house i should be allowed to decide its memebership and not be told who to include, or exclude. I dont promote discrimination however although i personally dont belive the BSA should exclued anyone I do believe it is there decision and not the general publics. I know there are many opinions on this matter and if someone wants to argue they should lose there non profit status I would not argue that point. However if anyone wants to start a organization for people with 3 legs and they dont want anyone else except those with 3 legs they should be allowed to do so.

    1. JOHN MAHER says:

      I have been listening to opinions for 75 yrs. SO HERE is MINE, WHEN YOU HAVE A GOVERNMENT of BULLIEs for the BULLIEs and are the BULLIEs, WHAT HAVE YOU GOT, CHICKEN SOUP ???

    2. John Owens says:

      I concur with you, Ronald. Contrary to this other John’s hysterical ranting, it is NOT bullying to exclude people from a club. It IS bullying to try to force a club to allow someone to be a member. This will be the beginning of the end of a great institution. You should not be able to force any one fraternity or sorority to allow others to enter. The whole purpose of a club is to set a group apart, at least when that group is convened, to the exclusion of others who are not a part of that group. Everyone is obviously not the same. If they were, they would all be members of the group. For instance, should the National Life Underwriters Association be forced to accept car sales representatives as members, if they are NOT licensed life underwriters? Is that bullying? Should the American Tae Kwon Do Association be forced to allow instructors from the Yoshukai discipline to teach in their Dojangs? Should security guards even be allowed into the FOP, when they have never been police? NO. NO. NO. NO. This is nothing but social engineering experimentation run amuck. This is not going to make the world a better place for anyone. This is a means of destroying the BSA, since the kind of people who have typically been active in BSA will no longer support it and those who have forced this issue will not support it financially.

      1. Stewart says:

        What you are advocating is the same twisted logic used throughout history to exclude others ….
        Dose not matter if it was Egyptian vs jew , Romans vs Christians , Christians vs everyone not one . Hitler vs Jew;s / crazy / gypsies / homosexuals . And the American favorite whites vs anyone of color not just the negro but Italians Spanish Native Americans . You know the trashy types All you have left that you can hate on and exclude are those that are attracted to others of the same gender or have a different view on what their identification is .

        You wanna recreate a false sense of the world being as you want it to be rather than the clear fact that it dose not conform to our wishes no matter how loud you scream with your fingers stuck in you ears i CAN’T HEAR YOU over an over when others disagree with your point of view .

        At no time in recorded history has everyone agreed on what normal really consist of even those that are like minded have shades Grey in most areas that are not 100%.

        Having someone close to me kill himself over his attractions vs what everyone around him claimed was right and not normal for many years hiding his true self to fit in and appear a normal macho really real MAN . Well lets just say it reached a point that it was easier to be dead than try to live that way and he ended it all .

        Sadly the ones that pushed him felt justified because their version of a loving god was only loving to those that fear him and follow the rules they say are correct .
        Religious freedoms end where the next persons begin There is no right to use mental and emotional abuse to try and force them to conform with your particular flavor of the week .

        Denying membership to a transgender is no different than when it was OK to tell a black child he could not join up Either we all have the same rights or they can use it to when it denies yours eventually .
        My problem with a bigot of any-type is they sure like to scream hey have rights and are being abused while the other hand is trying to chain everyone else up to fit in with their rules .

        The wonderful thing about freedom is its for everyone all to many of the laws on all levels have been written to pacify the Christians view There are still states with blue laws written to force non church goers to not be able to purchase things or attend non church related activities by setting times on a Sunday when things can ot open and or certain items be sold until church services are completed Texas still outlaws sale of beer before a set time and you can buy bread in a grocery store but the hardware areas are off limits . This was no big deal back when it was agriculture that ruled the world but now many work thrid shift but can not have a beer before heading home after work and should not in the afternoon before going to work .

        The world moves on customs change to fit the new attitudes otherwise you would still be speaking the queens English in America and wearing those outfits with the big padded cod piece in the multi colored shades of black an white .

        Move on progress accept that not everyone fits in to your cookie cutter .

        It is a truism that almost any sect, cult, or religion will legislate its creed into law if it acquires the political power to do so.
        Robert A. Heinlein

        If men were the automatons that behaviorists claim they are, the behaviorist psychologists could not have invented the amazing nonsense called “behaviorist psychology.” So they are wrong from scratch–as clever and as wrong as phlogiston chemists.
        Robert A. Heinlein

    3. John Scruggs says:

      The decision to allow gay boys and transboys to the Boy Scouts was not a decision forced on them by any outside groups. It was a decision they made themselves. Perhaps your anger is misplaced.

      1. Ronald Wolfe says:

        john i presume you live in a bubble and are unaware of the political and financial pressure put on the BSA to make these decisions you obviously dont read current events or the News, THe BSA fought these deceisions until the pressure caused them to cave.

    4. jimspoor says:

      As an Eagle Scout and Scouter for more than 30 yrs I agree with the concept that as a private organization, the BSA can set membership rules. I also disagree with the recent change in transgender policy. But it wasn’t my decision to make. I had to decide instead whether I could still support BSA. My answer is YES! The decision has been made and we move on. Ultimately giving more people Scouting opportunities is the higher mission. I have faith.

      1. Ronald Wolfe says:

        I agree, jimspoor, I too will continue to support the BSA as i believe in its ultimate purpose, goals, laws etc. and i understand the politiacl impact of their decision, I dont agree with it but i understand it. However i do believe many of their forced decision of recent wil change the BSA in the negative and impact their goals.

  3. Kirk says:

    Why is it soooo important for the BSA to allow gays and transgender folks when there are “inclusive” alternatives? Why can’t there be a club for regular straight religious dudes? I don’t understand the need to homogenate everything! It’s idiotic! It’s the same as getting upset because the local Jeep four wheeling club won’t let you join because you have a Chevy. Yeah, the Chevy can do the same stuff, but it ain’t a Jeep. Join a Chevy club! Don’t try to tell me this is different, it’s not!

    1. Ronald Wolfe says:

      i agree with you totally Kirk, i they want a transgender scout group let them start one

      1. Austin says:

        As a transgender male I find what your saying to be very offensive, just because we do not identify as the gender we were born dose not mean we should not be allowed in a association for boys/males, we are the gender we feel we are not what were given, we want equality not segregation. We should not have to set up our own group we should be allowed to be part of any of our choosing.

        1. sandy says:

          I agree with 100% transgender people are still Americans and deserve all the freedom that is due all Americans. We have freedom for ALL in this country and this issue is backed by very radical religious groups and people that are week in there own sexuality. These people are not cross dressers or perverts. The whole issue is a dangerous one for every one as once laws are made removing freedom from one group then we are all in danger of loosing our freedom. how would you feel if this church members were told we could not get medical care or a job on the basis of being a member of this church. As a freedom loving American I say leave these people alone to live there lives as they wish.

        2. James Lowrance says:

          Why do you want to force people to change their way of life just because it offends you. What will happen when of you decides to grope one of the other kids and that kid punches them? Is that a hate crime? Hell no! It is a normal reaction by a person who does NOT want to be touched!

      2. Amber Fry says:

        It isn’t about wanting a transgender scout group. It’s about wanting to be accepted as valued members of society and learning the same skills good scouts are said to have as the gender they identify most with. What better way than to be in the mix of those they do identify with most? Especially if the solid values are about helping others and doing good in a community… learning the survival skills and exceptional manners and treatment of others they claim to exude.

    2. John Scruggs says:

      Kirk, you totally miss the point. No one is saying the Boy Scouts should have to open itself to girls — but gays boys are boys. Transboys are boys. The only problem is the false belief that somehow gay boys will turn straight boys gay and that transboys are not really boys, when biologically the part of the brain the “assigns” gender is the same in cisgender men and transmen.

      1. Kirk says:

        John, I don’t think you can “turn” a straight kid gay. “Cisgender” is a fake word. Body-dysmorphia is a real thing. AGAIN, if you don’t have a Jeep, you can’t join a Jeep club! It ain’t hard to understand.

    3. Soleil says:

      Do you believe that all white troops should be allowed too?

    4. Parson Golden says:

      Hmm, Ok so “they” can have “their” own club. Perhaps “they” should have their own bathrooms, perhaps dark skinned people should have their own diner counters and drinking fountains….oh wait, we’ve been there and done that.

      How about we just treat all people with respect and inclusion and see how that works out, because racism and bigotry has not worked out so good…If BSA looses numbers over this decision, perhaps “those” people can find a new club that will continue to support hatred. BSA fought against inclusion for years, despite the fact that they are good for boys, they are a business and did what any good business does in the face of change, they change or become irreverent. Social pressure aside.

  4. Ralph Miller says:

    If that’s the case,why not accept girls.same thing

    1. Parson Golden says:

      Sure, call it “Scouting for Youth” accept all genders, sounds like a good progressive move forward to me.

  5. Linda weeks says:

    Speaking as a woman who has always led a different kind of life than some have, I put forth the question, why are there divisions based on sex at all? I am not gay, nor transgender, but have chosen more traditionally “male” pursuits and pastimes, for which I was roundly criticized and bullied over throughout my life.
    Children should be allowed to explore their interests without the pressure to conform to certain gender stereotypes, and provided with education in the fields of their choice. Why aren’t there simply “scouts” instead of “Boy Scouts” or “Girl Scouts”? It will make for healthier adults.

    1. Guairdean says:

      That program already exists, the youth in that program are called Explorer Cubs and Explorer Scouts. As far as the current division between Boy and Girl scouts, that’s a necessary situation. Boys need time with positive male role models in an atmosphere where they can be boys. Adding girls to that gathering adds a dynamic that can limit the ability of boys to ask questions and discuss what they’re feeling as they grow. The same is true for girls and positive female role models and the questions that an awakening understanding of the world can bring. Those questions were once answered by the older members of the community. Sadly, the relationships between “village elders” and the youth in the area are disappearing. Boys form clubs and girls form cliques for a reason. It helps them grow. As time goes by, the two groups blend naturally. Forcing those groups to meld too early in life is unwise.

  6. Ronald Wolfe says:

    that idea would be find if you would like to start a ‘SCOUTS” program you are freee to do so. and those who want to have both male and female should join and those who want to only be with males can join the boy scouts and those who want to be with girls can join the boy scouts. NO one is preventing you or anyone else with starting a a SCOUTS program but some boys want only to do boy things and some girls like only to do girl things and some would like to do both.

  7. rabbi jim says:

    GREAT!!!!! I love the idea!!!!

  8. William w. George says:

    Transgender? ? Youth ? What the bleep are you people talking about ,first off sexual preference is a “choice” an adult choice ,that’s why there are statitory laws in place ,it is my opinion that anyone under the age of 100 is still trying to figure it out, Jesus Christ people stop letting children go through life being labeled at 10 or 12, let them be children ,if they choose to be gay or transgendered ,fine there choice ,dosn’t mean they won’t be excellent people .

    1. Carol Amina says:

      William your full of it! sexuality is not a choice. The choice is to have sex or not. But a child knows at a young age what gender they identify with and unless adults in there life shame or oppress them they will grow up to be what they are born to be.

      1. Amber Fry says:

        I wish this site allowed for thumbs up and multiple votes. You would get a hundred from me alone.

  9. john Ruland says:

    The whole point of boy scouts and girl scouts is just that one is boys and one is girls. Would you let your son running round nude with girls around because now they are called just scouts and both girls and boys go there. what would happen if all the boys was running round nude. like if all the girls was running around nude in there camp. that is why there is boy scouts and girl scouts is because of this. Would you let one of your girls go to a boy scouts camp if all boys was running around nude and doing things. Sexuality is irrelevant at that age and what you have for equipment is what is relevant at that point when you are talking about camping and swimming. no matter what as long as one is a boy and one is a girl they should be able to go to one or the other. then there should be another one so both can go to that camp.

    1. Keitha Hardwick says:

      I totally missed the running around nude part of scouts when I was a child. Is that a new thing?

      1. Amber Fry says:

        Ditto, though I wasn’t in it more than a year and was very young at the time… I don’t recall nude runabouts either…

      2. Carol Amina says:

        LOL… Keitha, thats perfect! I was thinking the same thing.

    2. Guairdean says:

      Are we discussing Scouts, or Lord of the Flies?

    3. john Ruland says:

      Now that is the whole problem you can not have girls in a boys can if all the boys are running around nude and you can not have boys in a girls camp if all the girls are running around nude. That is my point that is why it is called girl scouts and boy scouts for a reason they are boys and girls camps.

    4. Parson Golden says:

      Sorry to bust your fantasy John, but boys are not running around nude at Scout Camps.

      1. Stewart says:

        Agree they are not running about naturally Any how NUDE and sex are totally different things .

        There are large numbers of naturist in The USA including kids yet many of the ones that misuse kids are good ole fashion bible thumppers that want to force everyone to stay in their proper places .

        Of course they want to also tell them were that place is . These are the same ones that have through out the ages burned witches , books and anything else they dislike . They believe that because it excites them sexual just thinking about it being done it dose so to everyone .

  10. Dennis says:

    I feel it is time to remove myself from this organization. It is no longer an organization about religion. It a conglomerate about politics and forcing certain groups mentality or you label them as bigots.

  11. STEVE W capps says:

    I seriously can’t even believe this is a debate among Christian (Christ – like) people. We are suppose to come out from amongst them, be ye separate says the Lord. My bible is still the truth regardless of what the world says. God created us male and female he created us. Not for us to decide what we were later on I life. To do so you are saying that God made a mistake. Excuse me but, my GOD doesn’t make mistakes!! If you are calling yourself a Christian and going along with this Abomination then you need to question your salvation! GOD IS NOT THE AUTHOR OF CONFUSION.

    1. Amber Fry says:

      Actually, it’s acknowledging the bible was written by people inspired by God, translated, re-translated, edited, added to, subtracted from, rewritten and re-translated again. Until people realize how the bible came about and how it was treated over the years, there is little hope of people truly understanding it. I do have to agree with your last statement though, because God wasn’t the author directly. He was the inspiration for it, by many people, which is why there is so much confussion.

    2. sandy says:

      no one says God made a mistake at all. nature has made a mistake. the bible says not one word about transgender people at all. try reading it for a change. I will pray for you to loose all that hate as that is some thing God will not approve of at all and you will have to explain to him latter.

    3. rude says:

      Well, if God doesn’t make mistakes, who made you? God is not judging and hateful like you are.

    4. Guairdean says:

      Yes, as you say, “God created us male and female he created us.” and obviously “male AND female” he created them. I put no limits on the Almighty, and I do not question his creation. I will, however, pray for those who do.

  12. virginia feldman says:

    I think the mosquito is proof that God does make mistakes.

  13. Gary Evans says:

    God made you either a man or woman.God didn’t make a person male and female in the same body.The devil works on peoples mind to mix them up not God.

    1. BRK says:

      I agree with you totally, Gary Evans……you have a very sane brain…..!!!
      Virginia Feldmann (not Feldman), is totally wrong, because she ignores the great function of the mosquito.
      The mosquito produces a liquid or substance that kills all the germs or bacteria that found around the trash.
      God is perfect, but DEVIL, but the expelled Lucifer from Heaven, tries to fight against the perfect creation of our heavenly father.
      By the way, the assistants of Lucifer are trying to destroy the positive image of our great President Trump.
      Our previous presidents, who killed millions of innocent people, are described as great people of our history. and this shows us that Lucifer is working very hard to destroy our HUMANITY………..
      Don’t let Lucifer cheat you……………use your sane BRAIN and live happy in accordance with the sane DOCTRINE of our heavenly father…………….!!!

  14. Rod says:

    Pro-active population control. This has nothing to do with rights. This has been documented as a tested method of population thinning on lab mice in the 1950’s. They used floride and methane compounds to alter the minds of the mice. Over the course of 5 years the reproduction rate completely stopped and the mice took on homosexual activity.

    1. Parson Golden says:

      “floride and methane” compounds to alter mice brains and produce homosexuality? You got a source for that claim?

  15. James Lowrance says:

    This is for all those here who are using “Religion” as an excuse to share their personal bias for or against this subject: Religion is purely man-made.Faith in a higher power than themselves is just that. I as a ULC minister will not be an agent of Political or Religious Terrorism! The LGBT movement has become a BULLY movement that are doing all of the things that they themselves are opposed to. This is what Humans do. The oppressed class struggles against the oppressor until they become the oppressor.

    1. James Lowrance says:

      [text error] Faith in a higher power other than themselves is just that.

  16. Bernard Moleman says:

    Homosexuals will soon FORCE themselves into every aspect of good Americans lives! They are nothing more than Bullies and thugs trying to force their lifestyle on me, just like black lives matter activists!

    Liberals need to read the BIBLE!

    1. Guairdean says:

      Be careful, your own words condemn you as a bully for forcing your lifestyle on those whose sexuality doesn’t pass your test. Would you bring back the infamous “Fruit Machine” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fruit_machine_(homosexuality_test)) and mandate its use? What measures do your recommend when someone fails the test? Conversion therapy where they “Pray away the gay”? http://www.advocate.com/commentary/2015/11/02/firsthand-account-torture-conversion-therapy Exile? Send them off somewhere so they can’t infect others? Maybe you just want to execute them on the spot to protect “decent folks” like you? Maybe you want something more Biblical like a good old stoning. If so, do you feel you are qualified to cast the first stone?

    2. rod says:

      This is all just a test of faith. We can plainly see which of us have studied and who hasn’t. We need not be the class bully nor the class clown. We should focus on passing the test. Graduation will come sooner than you expected.

    3. Tiffany says:

      Bernard,
      People existing in a manner you do not approve of is not the same thing as them forcing their lifestyle on you. Unless you have had homosexual men force you to become a homosexual man, but that just smacks of self delusion.

      Judge not lest ye be judged. Judgment is reserved for God.

  17. Glenn Slingluff says:

    I’m a transgendered lasted Glenn slingluff great call we are all just peaple

  18. Glenn Slingluff says:

    Not lasted. Pastered

  19. aspamseesit says:

    Children aught never be politicized. Adults who are not directly involved with a given child has no basis for imposing their gender stereotypes on that child, or on other adults for that matter. Group rights vs individual rights is the issue here, not whether or not a given child is a boy or girl. In the USA, individual rights are supposed to supersede group rights, unless the state has a compelling interest in promoting the rights of a group above those of the individual. It should also be pointed out that a not-for-profit, 501(c)3, charitable organization is NOT a private club. It is allowed to exist only insofar as it benefits society at large. Non-profits are required to submit copious documentation to verify that they meet that public benefit, in order to keep their 501(c)3 status. Discrimination is diametrically opposed to the purposes of a free society.

  20. Rev. Donna says:

    A private club should be able to monitor their membership. However, if you are trying to be a role model for young people, & society, then discrimination is unacceptable. Children are just that -children- precious – fearfully & wonderfully made. What message are you sending when you don’t accept them for who they are?

  21. Rev. Francisco says:

    I concur with Rev. Donna. These young and innocent minds should not be exposed to, nor harassed by, adult discriminatory beliefs. Such exposure and/or harassment traumatize their innocent and tender minds, and cause unnecessary suffering, sometimes to the point of suicide. That’s not right!

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