US scouts welcome transgender boys

เผยแพร่:   โดย: MGR Online

Members of the scouts and guides march past during a full dress rehearsal for the Indian Republic Day parade in Secunderabad, the twin city of Hyderabad, on January 24, 2017. Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan will be the chief guest of honour at Indias upcoming 68th Republic Day celebrations on January 26. Noah Seelam/AFP

January 31, 2017
(AFP) - The Boy Scouts of America will welcome transgender children who identify as boys, the group announced Monday, in a dramatic reversal from its traditional stand.

Chief executive Michael Surbaugh said the group will now allow individuals to enroll based on the gender with which they identify, ending a more than century-old policy of using the gender on their birth certificate.

"We realized that referring to birth certificates as the reference point is no longer sufficient," he said in a statement.

"Communities and state laws are now interpreting gender identity differently. And these new laws vary widely from state to state."

Zach Wahls, co-founder of the advocacy group Scouts for Equality, hailed the "historic" step.

"We are incredibly proud of Joe Maldonado -- the transgender boy from New Jersey whose expulsion last year ignited this controversy -- and his mother Kristie for their courage in doing what they knew was right," Wahls said in a statement.

"We are also proud of the Boy Scouts for deciding to do the right thing."

The move marked a major shift for the Boy Scouts, which ended a ban on gay scouts in 2013.

Two years later, it officially scrapped a decades-old ban on gay troop leaders, a historic but controversial decision after years of legal wrangling and internal strife.

One of the country's largest youth groups, the Boy Scouts counts nearly 2.3 million members and around a million adult volunteers.