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Boy Scouts OK with Gay, But Not Transgender Scouts

Boy Scouts

Last year after buying a Boy Scout’s outrageously overpriced fundraising popcorn I felt good knowing I had sacrificed, but I was perplexed by the seller’s apparent uneasiness.

Hadn’t the Boy Scouts just changed there don’t ask don’t tell policies allowing LGBT people full access to their institutions? So why were they cringing as I handed them half of my weekly pocket money?

LGBT Nation reports that one month after 8-year-old Joe Maldonado of Secaucus, N.J. joined Cub Scout Pack 87, his mother received a call that the troop sponsored by their local Catholic church had barred her son from participating. The reason, she told reporters, is because her son was assigned the gender of female at birth. Joe is a transgender boy.

 Joe told  The Record he’s not so much sad as he is mad.

“It made me mad. I had a sad face, but I wasn’t crying. I’m way more angry than sad. My identity is a boy. If I was them, I would let every person in the world go in. It’s right to do.”

Boy Scouts

Well, apparently the Boy Scouts don’t feel we aren’t worthy of their membership. Or should I say, my financial contribution alone as a transgender woman wasn’t enough to sway their opinion, but they sure did take my cash. So how did Gay people become included in the Scouts?

Wikipedia reports that it took a massive social, media and corporate revolt against the homophobic and historically racist organization.

Some public entities and private institutions ceased financial or other support of the BSA, primarily as a result of conflicts between their nondiscrimination policies and the BSA’s membership policies. About 50 of the 1,300 local United Ways, including those in Cleveland, Miami, Orlando, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Seattle, withdrew all funding. The BSA had also lost all funding from several large corporations that had been regular donors, such as Chase Manhattan Bank, Levi Strauss, Fleet Bank, CVS/pharmacy, and Pew Charitable Trusts. For example, Pew Charitable Trusts, which had consistently supported the BSA for over fifty years, decided to cancel a $100,000 donation and cease future donations. On September 22, 2012, Intel, the BSA’s largest corporate donor, officially withdrew its financial support from any troop that cannot sign a statement confirming that the troop does not discriminate based on creed or sexual orientation. In November 2012, the UPS Foundation, a philanthropic division of UPS, halted its financial donations, amounting to $85,000 in 2011, to the BSA because of its discrimination based on sexual orientation. In 2012, Merck & Co. stopped its funding due to the policy excluding gays and lesbians. In 2013, restaurant chain Chipotle publicly pulled support over the ban.

On June 14, Caterpillar Inc. cut its funding of the BSA, saying “We have inclusive policies here at Caterpillar Inc. […] We would certainly consider a change in the future grants – if there was a change that aligned with what our non-discrimination policies are.” A Pennsylvania chapter of the United Way withheld funding over the decision to exclude openly gay leaders.

In December 2013, Lockheed Martin announced it would end donations to the BSA over the organization’s ban on openly gay adults serving as leaders.

Joe’s mom has said she won’t file a discrimination suit against the Boy Scouts for excluding him. Garden State Equality has begun a petition so we can Stand With Joe against transphobia.

Kelli Busey
Kelli, Busey is managing editor at Planet Transgender


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