The Boy Scouts of America has changed its policy to admit transgender youth who identify as male, marking the latest change in LGBT inclusion for the nearly 106-year-old institution.
Effie Delimarkos, director of communications for the Boy Scouts of America, confirmed the change to the Washington Blade in a statement amid widespread media reports of the new policy.
“Starting today, we will accept and register youth in the Cub and Boy Scout programs based on the gender identity indicated on the application,” Delimarkos said. “Our organization’s local councils will help find units that can provide for the best interest of the child.”
Delimarkos said the old policy of the Boy Scouts — which relied on children’s birth certificates to determine their gender identity — wasn’t working “as communities and state laws are interpreting gender identity differently, and these laws vary widely from state to state.” In addition to new transgender inclusive non-discrimination laws, courts are now interpreting federal laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sex to apply to transgender people.
“The BSA is committed to identifying program options that will help us truly serve the whole family, and this is an area that we will continue to thoughtfully evaluate to bring the benefits of scouting to the greatest number of youth possible – all while remaining true to our core values, outlined in the Scout Oath and Law,” Delimarkos said.
The news comes one-and-a-half years after the Boy Scouts changed its policy to begin admitting openly gay troop leaders for the first time and almost four years after it lifted its ban on gay youth.
As president of the United States, President Trump is honorary president of the Boy Scouts of America. The Washington Blade has placed a request with the White House to see if he supports the new trans-inclusive policy of the Boy Scouts.
During his tenure in the White House, President Obama called on the Boy Scouts to lift its gay bans and applauded when the organization lifted its ban on children who identify as gay and the ban on adult leaders.