By Brittanie Gutierrez |Staff Writer|
The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) will now be accepting transgender boys.
The organization released a statement informing people that after 100 years of using the biological sex indicated on a child’s birth certificate, they will now be accepting those who identify as a boy on Jan. 30.
The BSA, who are commonly associated with conservative values, have taken a step towards progress with their decision.
“Starting today, we will accept and register youth in the Cub and Boy Scout programs based on gender identity indicated on the application. Our organization’s local councils will help find units that can provide for the best interest of the child,” as stated in the statement.
Chief Scout Executive, Michael Surbaugh released a video on YouTube explaining what the BSA stands for and how their new policy will allow them to serve the youth.
“The move toward trans-inclusion is a positive one and provides a good model,” said Gender and Sexuality Studies Program Director, Dr. Todd Jennings.
Jennings, a former boy scout, remembers the importance placed on standing up for fairness.
“So it’s disappointing that the BSA continues to follow rather than lead in helping boys to see, and experience, the links between inclusion and the character values the BSA works to instill,” continued Jennings.
In 2015, the BSA lifted a restriction on openly gay leaders and employees, and allowed leaders to be selected regardless of sexual orientation.
“It would have meant more had the BSA arrived at LGBTQ inclusion earlier and under their own volition rather than simply reacting to pressure […] but at least they eventually got there and that is good for boys,” continued Jennings.
This resolution was a progressive step for the self-proclaimed diverse organization.
The new policy is another step into acceptance in accordance to the shifting mindset of society.
“It’s a long time coming. It’s long overdue,” said student Luis Esparza.
“We shouldn’t be judging people based on their sexual orientation or what they identify as to begin with. It was a great decision by those in charge of the Boy Scouts to allow individuals to identify as they wish,” continued Esparza.
Student Frank Young agreed that the movement is progressive and great for the BSA to allow those who identify as boys to participate.
Gender identity has been a hot topic for the last couple of years, with laws being passed to stop discrimination against the LGBTQ community.
Along with those laws, have come a lot of backlash from different groups of people.
Pride Center Program Assistant Francisco Rodriguez says the new policy is great but that he’s seen a lot of backlash, especially since the start of Donald Trump’s presidency.
“[For instance] the Coke-A-Cola ad that they put on during the Super Bowl—they had a lot of diverse people and they got a lot of backlash on that,” said Rodriguez.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS) released a statement on Jan. 31 informing their followers that they are reviewing the policy made by the BSA.
“Boy Scouts has assured its religious chartering organizations that, as in the past, they will be able to organize their troops in a way fully consistent with their religious beliefs,” stated the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
LDS officials have released statements on LGBTQ issues within the BSA in the past, which have further pushed LGBTQ advocates to lobby for change.
“Trans-boys will experience inclusion while non-trans boys will have inclusion modeled for them. Equally important, these boys will be part of a future where we hope that inclusion is the norm rather than the exception,” said Jennings.