Boy Scouts Open Membership to Transgender Children

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(CNN) The Boy Scouts of America says it will begin accepting members based on the gender indicated on their applications, opening the door for transgender children to become scouts.
 
Previously, the organization deferred to an individual’s birth certificate to determine eligibility for programs.
 
“However, that approach is no longer sufficient as communities and state laws are interpreting gender identity differently, and these laws vary widely from state to state,” BSA spokeswoman Effie Delimarkos said in a statement.
 
“Starting today, we will accept and register youth in the Cub and Boy Scout programs based on the gender identity indicated on the application. Our organization’s local councils will help find units that can provide for the best interest of the child.”
 
The Boys Scouts of America have come under fire in the past over LGBT issues. Last year, it finally lifted the ban on gay adults as Scout leaders. And it was only three years ago that it allowed allowed openly gay youths to join scouting.
 
Girl Scouts of the USA, a separate organization, had addressed transgender issues a different way.
 
Its policy says that “if the child is recognized by the family and school/community as a girl and lives culturally as a girl, then Girl Scouts is an organization that can serve her in a setting that is both emotionally and physically safe.”

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released the following statement after the BSA announcement: 

“The Church is studying the announcement made yesterday by Boy Scouts of America. Boy Scouts has assured its religious chartering organizations that, as in the past, they will be able to organize their troops in a way fully consistent with their religious beliefs. In recent years the Church has made several changes to its programs for youth, and continues to look for ways to better serve its families and young people worldwide.”

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