Better late than never, Boy Scouts of America. Just months after 8-year-old Joe Maldonado was asked to leave the Boy Scouts because he was born a girl, the Scouts have now announced plans to admit any child who self-identifies as a boy. It's about time. Reuters reports that this change marks the end of the Scouts' "century-old practice of using the gender stated on a birth certificate to determine eligibility." "Starting today, we will accept and register youth in the Cub and Boy Scout programs based on the gender identity indicated on the application," Effie Delimarkos, communications director for the Boy Scouts of America, said in a statement. It's hard to believe it's been only four years since the Scouts began including openly gay participants — and only two years since the organization lifted its ban on gay adult leaders. The Girl Scouts, however, have supported queer and transgender members for some time now.
As for Joe, AP reports that he has been re-invited to join his old troop. However, he and his mother, Kristie Maldonado, are waiting to decide based on whether Joe's previous scout leader (the one who kicked him out in the fall) will step down. "I'm so delighted that they finally called and they did say this," Kristie told AP, "but I'm still angry." “It made me mad,” Joe told The Record this fall, after he was asked to leave his troop. “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.” Letting people in because it's the right thing to do? Sounds like Joe's onto something.