Joe Maldonado hung out at school with a group of boys, spent time with them often, and even played with many of them on the same basketball team.
But when he joined up with a local pack of Boy Scouts to hang out with those same friends, Joe was asked to leave, because he is transgender, reports The Guardian.
One month after joining a pack in Secaucus, New Jersey, Joe's mother, Kristie, says her son was asked to leave, marking what is potentially the first known case of a scout being rejected based on their gender.
“Because he wasn’t born a boy, he was no longer able to go back into the Boy Scouts.”
Kristie Maldonado said she was surprised when she got a call asking about her son. She told Boy Scout officials that no one had ever asked for a birth certificate. She was also surprised because Joe had always been open about his gender whether at school or with his friends.
What had tipped the officials off? Well, some parents had mentioned that Joe's name used to be Jodi.
“If they had said right from the beginning because I know it’s a touchy subject and I know it’s a private organization, I would have said, OK, we can’t join. We can’t do it this year. I would have made an excuse for Joe,” said Kristie to The Guardian. “But you don’t accept a child, then a month later you throw them out.”
Some on social media are upset with the Boy Scouts' conduct.
The Boy Scouts of America stirred controversy for years by rejecting homosexual scouts and leaders.
They ultimately lifted that ban, but a spokesperson said they consider the issue of transgender scouts to be an entirely separate issue.
“No youth may be removed from any of our programs on the basis of his or her sexual orientation,” said scout spokesperson Effie Delimarkos. “Gender identity isn’t related to sexual orientation.”
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