Boy Scouts Announce Controversial New Policy
The Boy Scouts Association makes waves with new policy allowing transgender scouts
March 1, 2017
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On January 30th, the Boy Scouts Association (BSA) made the announcement that they would begin accepting Boy Scouts who identified as transgender. Michael Surbaugh, the chief executive of the group, said, “After weeks of significant conversations at all levels of our organization, we realized that referring to birth certificates as the reference point is no longer sufficient.” Instead of using the birth certificate of the applicant, they will begin to use the gender indicated on the application as a jumping off point for acceptance.
The BSA has faced much controversy in the past because of their controversial policies regarding homosexual scouts and scout leaders. At one point they said that not accepting homosexual youth was “essential in its mission to instill in young people the values of Scout Oath and Law.” The BSA’s policies on homosexuality have been challenged in court many times, but according to the law, they are a private organization and are under no obligation to change their “discriminatory” policies.
In 2013 the BSA made the announcement that they would begin to accept openly gay scouts and in 2015 they announced they would accept openly gay scout leaders, a decision that faced great criticism from conservatives. The most recent decision to accept transgender children has also faced a lot of criticism from conservative, former boy scouts. Russell Moore, the president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, said, “Now we see once again that the Boy Scouts really is committed to a gender-theory culture war that evangelical Christians and many other Americans just can’t accept.”
Although the decision faced much criticism and controversy, the breakthroughs that the BSA continues to make on the fronts of gender identity and sexuality, keep the social order moving in the right direction, according to many individuals affected by the ban. Dorian Page, a junior at Monument Mountain and former Boy Scout, said, “Personally I believe that everyone should be included, no matter what you think or what I think. Everybody should have a chance to do what they want in life.”