The Boy Scouts of America spent years bogged down in a losing fight against greater social equality for gay boys and men. The nationwide youth organization previously barred gay men from serving as troop leaders – a policy based on homophobic preconceptions – and also prevented gay scouts from participating as members.
Last year, the organization reversed course. While the policy update was better late than never, it appears as if another regressive tendency in the 100+ year old organization is rearing its head.
A troop in New Jersey has kicked out a transgender boy named Joe. Open about his gender and accepted by his peers, Joe had joined the Boy Scouts as his friends were part of the organization. A month into his membership, troop leaders learned from other children’s parents that Joe was born “Jodi.” After confirming this with Joe’s parents, they withdrew his membership.
A spokesperson for the Boy Scouts effectively said that while the organization is welcoming to boys and men of various sexual orientations, it considers transgender issues separate:
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.
By comparison, the Girl Scouts the USA not only accept trans members, but have done so for years.
With Republicans doubling down on anti-trans laws and an incoming Vice President – Mike Pence – who holds medieval views on gender and sexuality, guaranteeing rights and protections for vulnerable trans communities will be an essential component of the pro-social opposition in the coming years.