Reversing its stance of more than a century, the Boy Scouts of America said on Monday that the group would begin accepting members based on the gender listed on their application, paving the way for transgender boys to join the organization.
“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 group said in a statement on its website. “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.”
The announcement reverses a policy that drew controversy late last year when a transgender New Jersey boy was kicked out of the organization about a month after joining.
“After weeks of significant conversations at all levels of our organization, we realized that referring to birth certificates as the reference point is no longer sufficient,” Chief Scout Executive Michael Surbaugh said in a recorded statement on Monday.
In 2013, the Boy Scouts of America ended its ban on openly gay youths participating in its activities.
Two years later, the organization ended its ban on openly gay adult leaders.