The Boy Scouts of America announced Monday that it will break its century-old policy by welcoming transgender boys into its programs, and the change is effective immediately—BIG news, guys!
"For more than 100 years, the Boy Scouts of America have ultimately deferred to the information on an individual's birth certificate to determine eligibility for our single-gender programs," Chief Scout Executive Michael Surbaugh explained in a video statement. "However, that approach is no longer sufficient as communities and state laws are now interpreting gender identity differently, and these laws vary widely from state to state. Starting today, we will accept registration in our scouting programs based on the gender identity provided on an individual's application."
According to transgender activist and author Lee Schubert, the move is part of an exciting trend regarding society's views of gender identity as a whole. But sadly, not everyone is happy with the decision.
Schubert, for one, is not all that surprised by the animosity. "While this trend is very encouraging, take heed—it is also likely to bring up outrage, resentment, and fear," she explained. "But parents, don't give up. You are your child's prime advocate, and you can help them as they begin this journey."
How? By simply adopting the attitude that since the Boy Scouts have made this decision, their son has the same right to be a member as any other boy. "Parents do not need to argue the point with anyone because the rule has already been made," she explained to Parents.com.
What they may have to advocate for, however, is proper implementation. "There will almost inevitably be disagreements about how to handle specific situations, such as Boy Scout Camp," she told us. "For example, questions will probably arise about bathrooms, shower facilities, and sleeping accommodations. Without being pugnacious about it, parents should try to work together with scout leaders to develop fair and reasonable ways to deal with such issues."
Sounds like a long road ahead. But even so, Schubert says the decision to accept transgender boys is a wonderful step forward. "The Boy Scouts have always offered great opportunities to boys, and now they will finally be available to all boys," she told us. "Not only that, but because it is such a large and respected organization, this move will likely encourage schools and other organizations to follow."