SECAUCUS, N.J. — A New Jersey branch of the Boy Scouts has agreed to pay $18,000 to the family of a nine-year-old girl who identifies as a boy after they filed a civil rights complaint for excluding the child from participating in the organization.
The Northern New Jersey Council of the Boy Scouts will also issue a written apology to Kristie Maldonado and her daughter who goes by the name Joe. The child had been a member of Cub Scout Pack 87 for approximately a month when a Boy Scout official advised that she could not continue with the program because she is a girl.
“It made me mad,” Joe told reporters. “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.”
Maldonado consequently filed a complaint with the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights, and weeks later, the headquarters of the Boy Scouts of America decided to overturn its current policies requiring deference to the child’s birth certificate.
“For more than 100 years, the Boy Scouts of America, along with schools, youth sports and other youth organizations, have ultimately deferred to the information on an individual’s birth certificate to determine eligibility for our single-gender 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,” the organization said in a statement on Jan. 30.
“Starting today, we will accept and register youth in the Cub and Boy Scout programs based on the gender identity indicated on the application,” it wrote.
The Secaucus Cub Pack therefore agreed to allow the child back into the scouting group, and on Thursday, it entered into a formal agreement in response to the civil rights complaint.
“The Boy Scouts of America is pleased that we’ve reached a mutually agreed upon settlement. We are happy to welcome Joe and the Maldonado family back into the Scouting community,” Director of Communications Effie Delimarkos said in a statement on Friday.
In addition to the payment, the Council agreed to also create “revised policies and procedures” surrounding the admission of youth with gender dysphoria in light of the state’s “prohibitions against discrimination based on gender identity and expression.”
“Joe is happy that they admitted they were wrong,” Maldonado told reporters.
As previously reported, the Boy Scouts of America, founded in 1909, was created to mirror the British Boy Scouts, and was stated by some to be a Christian organization.
“Scouting is nothing less than applied Christianity,” wrote British founder Sir Robert Baden-Powell in a 1917 publication entitled “Scouting & Christianity.”
John L. Alexander, one of the founders of the Boy Scouts of America, also expressed this sentiment in the 1911 handbook.
“The Boy Scouts of America maintain that no boy can grow into the best kind of citizenship without recognizing his obligation to God,” he wrote. “The recognition of God as the ruling and leading power in the universe, and the grateful acknowledgment of His favors and blessings is necessary to the best type of citizenship and is a wholesome thing in the education of the growing boy.”