The Boy Scouts of America will allow transgender children who identify as boys to enroll in scouting programs, the organization announced Monday.
“Starting today, we will accept and register youth in the Cub and Boy Scout programs based on the gender identity indicated on the application,” Effie Delimarkos, director of communications for the organization, said in a statement obtained by TheWrap. “Our organization’s local councils will help find units that can provide for the best interest of the child.”
The organization noted that it offers “number of programs that serve all youth,” but that it’s best known for Cub Scouting and Boy Scouting that are “specifically designed to meet the needs of boys.”
The organization acknowledged the break from tradition. “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.”
In December, an 8-year-old Jersey boy, who was born a girl but identified as a male for more than a year, was asked to leave a Cub Scouts pack. His mother had said that he was accepted as a boy at school and that complaints from parents led to his dismissal from the Cub Scouts.
According to the Associated Press, the Boy Scouts had said they would admit transgender children into their coeducational programs but not to programs that were meant for boys only.
The Girl Scouts of America organization, which is not affiliated with the Boy Scouts, has accepted transgender members for years.
The Boy Scouts had endured controversy in recent years before lifting a ban on gay adults serving as Scout leaders in 2015.
“This resolution will allow chartered organizations to select adult leaders without regard to sexual orientation, continuing Scouting’s longstanding policy of chartered organizations selecting their leaders,” the Boy Scouts said in a statement July 13, 2015.
Two years prior, the organization announced they would admit openly gay youths into the program. At that time, they had maintained their stance on not allowing openly gay leaders to take part in the Boy Scouts. The Boy Scouts of America were founded in 1910.