Joe Maldanado, a 8-year old Secaucus boy was kicked out of the Boy Scouts for being transgender.
We first met Joe in the summer of 2015, when his mom Kristie, a fierce advocate for her son, reached out to Garden State Equality for help in supporting Joe’s transition at school. We worked with his elementary school to ensure that Joe was able to attend school as a boy and provided policy consultation to administrators and professional development training for teachers and staff on working with transgender youth. Since that time we have continued to be an ally and resource to Joe’s family.
We were devastated when Kristie shared with us that the Boy Scouts asked her to remove Joe from the Cub Scouts because other parents complained that a transgender child was participating. Joe is a confident young person and he has shown tremendous courage.
Garden State Equality believes that the Boy Scouts of America’s policy on accepting gay youth should extend to transgender youth. We also believe that the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, which protects New Jerseyans from discrimination on the basis of gender identity and gender expression should extend to this case.
Twenty six years ago a New Jersey Eagle Scout, James Dale, was kicked out of the Boy Scouts after they learned he was co-president of the Lesbian/Gay Alliance at his university. Dale brought suit in New Jersey courts, and in 1999 the Supreme Court narrowly affirmed the right of the Boy Scouts to deny membership to gay individuals. Another 15 years would pass before the Boy Scouts reversed their position on admitting gay youth, and another 2 years later, in the summer of 2015 when we were first meeting with Joe and his family, the Boy Scouts announced they would no longer bar gay individuals from serving as scout leaders. We will not wait another 26 years.
Please join Garden State Equality in supporting Joe’s family and sending a loud message to the Boy Scouts of America that 26 years is too long to wait. The Boy Scouts should accept transgender boys as boys, and treat Joe and other transgender kids with the respect all children deserve.
"Boy Scouts of America: I stand with Cub Scout Joe Maldonado and his family. The Boy Scouts should accept transgender boys as boys, and treat Joe and other transgender kids with the respect all children deserve."