The Boy Scouts of America said on Monday the group would begin accepting transgender boys, bucking its more than a century-old practice of using the gender stated on a birth certificate to determine eligibility.
“Starting today, we will accept and register youth in the Cub and Boy Scout programs based on the gender identity indicated on the application,” Boy Scouts of America communications director Effie Delimarkos said in an emailed statement.
Think of it: children with vaginas who present themselves as males will be accepted as males by the Boy (Boi?) Scouts of America. Is it possible for transgenderism to be more establishment than that?
The organization’s leadership had considered a recent case in Secaucus, New Jersey, where an 8-year-old transgender child had been asked to leave his Scout troop after parents and leaders found out he is transgender. But the statement issued Monday said the change was made because of the larger conversation about gender identity going on around the country.
“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.”
Kristie Maldonado said she had mixed emotions Monday night when a representative of Boy Scouts of America called to tell her the organization would allow her son, Joe, to re-enroll in his troop after he was asked to leave last fall. Maldonado said she would like her son to rejoin the Secaucus troop, but only if the scout leader who made the previous decision leaves.
Says the reader who sent that piece: “It’s the tyranny of the unflinching and uncompromising minority.”
Question to conservative Christians (and other religious conservatives) still involved with the Boy Scouts: Is there a line the organization would cross that would cause you to withdraw? If so, why? And if you’re staying, how come?
UPDATE: Reader Corey comments:
I worked as a professional in the organization for most of last year. I heard from someone in the national office that this has been the de facto policy for some time (i.e., since transgender teenagers became a thing in the public consciousness). I suspect this was done for reasons similar to those invoked for the policy change on homosexuals: the BSA is very likely not going to win the next major round of litigation on membership policies, so it’s best to just change the policy preemptively so that the organization can control its implementation. If the courts had reconsidered the policy on homosexuals, there would have been no conscience clause for individual troops. So the reasoning goes, at least. It’s good that the BSA has deigned to announce that they’re doing this; hitherto, there were apparently a number of cases in which this was just permitted under the table with the tacit approval of national. At least now folks can decide if this is an organization that is best positioned to impart virtue to their sons. (And daughters. And in-betweens…)
I will say this as someone who is an Eagle Scout and who has also worked for the organization: it isn’t what it once was, but there’s still some good there. There are still troops dedicated to providing the timeless values of Scouting. These are also typically the troops that are flourishing because they are also the ones providing a serious outdoor program (the genius of Scouting, of course, is to realize that boys learn virtue by doing things outside that they want to be doing, anyway—camping and fishing and shooting and building fires).
But the fact is, Scouting is (and has always been) a mirror of the culture of which it is a part because it’s a volunteer-led organization. So, if you have a large number of parents who think that transgender ideology is unproblematic, Scouting is going to go in that direction. If you have a bunch of kids who’d rather play video games than build fires, you get STEM Scouts, a program that is basically “Scouting” for kids who don’t like to be outside.
The major problem, though, is with the professional side of the organization. Most professional scouters are anxious to update the organization to make it relevant. There’s very much a “change or be left behind” mentality. BSA professionals care about two things: membership and money. So if a policy (even a value-based one) threatens either of those things, it’s going to be overturned.
There’s also the sense (especially at the higher levels) that Scouting is too conservative and needs to be made more “progressive.” Of course, these people are going to kill the BSA. (They almost did in the 70s when they tried to change the program so that you could earn your Eagle without ever having gone camping in an effort to make the program attractive to inner-city youth. Didn’t work, of course. Membership tanked, and they had to make the program about actual Scouting again—the brilliant 9th Edition of the Scout Handbook is a legacy of their returning to their roots.) The Girl Scouts made the same decision to go full-bore ideological a few decades ago, and look where they are now. How many teenaged Girl Scouts do you know? Once they get out of Brownies, they drop out because the program is a PC joke.
Real boys don’t care a whit about any of this stuff. They want to be outside with their friends, sleeping in tents, and building fires. At least the ones who aren’t media-addicted zombies.