A week after the Boy Scouts of America changed its policy to allow transgender children to join, a New Jersey boy has become the first openly transgender member of the organization.
“I am accepted,” Joe Maldonado said Tuesday night as he put on a Cub Scout uniform. Joe was identified as a girl at birth but now lives as a boy.
The Bergen Record reported that the 9-year-old joined Pack 20 in Maplewood after the organization’s decision to allow transgender Scouts.
“This is fun; I’m so proud,” he said during the meeting.
Scout leader Kyle Hackler taught Joe the Cub Scout salute and oath.
“This means you’re the same as Scouts all over the world,” Hackler told him.
The Scout’s mother, Kristie, said she was “proud of the fight” she had put up after the Northern New Jersey Council of Boy Scouts last year told her Joe would not be allowed to continue to be a member of Pack 87 in Secaucus.
The Boy Scouts changed their policy of using the gender listed on a child’s birth certificate to determine eligibility after Joe’s story gained national attention.
The national organization released a statement welcoming the Maldonado family. “Moving forward, the BSA will continue to work to bring the benefits of our programs to as many children, families and communities as possible,” the statement said.
Maldonado told the newspaper she had decided to bring her son to Maplewood because she did not want to go back to Secaucus, where she said Scouting officials told her some parents had complained last year.