Rainbow Boy Scouts
Views 52 | Time to read: 3 minutes | Uploaded: 2 - 7 - 2017 | By: Vanessa Acain
Joe Maldonado, an eight year old transgender boy who was thrown out of Cub scouts, says the decision was unfair- “My identity is a boy. If I was them, I would let every person in the world go in. It’s right to do.”
After Maldonado’s story went viral, the Boy Scouts of America deliberated for weeks on the issue. Amidst the controversial national debate over transgender rights and gender identity, on January 31st, the BSA stated that the organization would accept applicants for the program based on the gender identity indicated on the application and not defer to the information on the individual’s birth certificate to determine eligibility like the organization had done before.
Overturning a century’s worth of policy, the BSA stated that the organization’s local councils will serve in the best interest of the child and are committed to find units within the program that will do so. Michael Surbaugh, the Scouts’ chief executive said in a recorded statement last Monday, “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.”
The BSA’s decision sent a powerful message, and many applaud the decision. To those who lean left, transgenderism is a “settled science” and inclusion is the way to go. Many conservative Americans do not share the same optimism. Fox News commentator Todd Starnes believes this is the beginning of what he refers to as sexual anarchy.
“The Boy Scouts of America sacrificed its last vestige of integrity on the altar of political correctness,” said Starnes, “Will boys and girls be allowed to shower together? Will they be allowed to use the same camp dressing rooms?” Other conservatives are arguing that the decision will only lead to emotional disturbance that will pose a threat to impressionable children in the program. John Stemberger, a pro-family activist, told Starnes, “Facilities and campgrounds are not designed for this type of thing.”
Many fear that the Scouts are redefining their values to adhere to the desires of the culture rather than the original policies of the organization. However, the Boy Scouts of America did not have to confront these issues at its founding because there was zero conversation about accepting transgender children.
In this day and age, the BSA made the right decision to advocate for stronger protections in the organization for gay and transgender people. No matter one’s stance, the LGBTQ+ community is full of other human beings who deserve to feel secure in their fundamental human rights. As Girl Scouts allowed transgender girls long before this most recent decision, the move to accept transgender boys into Boy Scouts was only natural.
The ban on the LGBTQ+ community from public spaces and organizations for gender identity only sends a pernicious and insidious message which implies that gay and transgender people are a danger to society. If the ban was not lifted from the Boy Scouts of America, it could negatively impact children who are in their formative years. Gender identity is a reality that cannot be pushed to the side. Such fragile matters must be dealt with in a rational and compassionate way.
Although one may not support the lifestyle of those in the LGBTQ+ community, it is important to show love and support, treating them as human beings and not societal pariahs.