Press Release

ADL Hails Boy Scouts Decision to Open Membership to Transgender Youth

Says No One Should Be Denied Opportunity to Participate

New York, NY, January 31, 2017 ...The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today welcomed the Boy Scouts of America decision to begin accepting members based on the gender an individual lists on the enrollment application, opening membership to transgender youth.

This move reverses the organization’s previously-held policy, which relied on an individual’s biological sex indicated on a birth certificate. The change is in line with existing policy by the Girl Scouts, who have made it clear they serve all girls, including transgender girls.

“We welcome the Boy Scouts’ decision to end their discriminatory policy of excluding transgender youth in scouting,” said Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL CEO. “No one should be denied the opportunity to participate in any Boy Scout troop because of their gender identity or expression.  This policy change is a necessary and important step for the organization in order to provide inclusive, safe, and welcoming environments for all scouts.”

This decision comes after the exclusion of an 8-year old transgender boy, Joe Maldonado, from the Northern New Jersey Council of Boy Scouts Club Scout Pack 87 in Secaucus, New Jersey last month. The Boy Scouts had reportedly asked that Joe be removed from the Cub Scouts after receiving complaints from other parents that a transgender child was participating, citing eligibility requirements.  Expressing disappointment with this decision, ADL’s New Jersey Regional Office urged the Boy Scouts to extend its policies on accepting gay youth to transgender youth.

“Young people should be able to grow and thrive in environments free from bullying, harassment, and discrimination,” said Joshua Cohen, ADL New Jersey Regional Director. “We are pleased that all chartering troops will now be guided by the inclusive principles represented by this policy.”

In 2013, the group ended its ban on openly gay youth and ended its ban on openly gay adults two years later.

The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.