“I AM ACCEPTED, AND I’M ACTUALLY IN BOY SCOUTS.”
Maldonado became a member of Pack 20 in Essex County just one week after the Boy Scouts lifted their ban on transgender children. He was banned from Pack 87 in October after parents of the troop filed complaints about his participation. Maldonado’s story was a driving force behind the Boy Scouts’ decision to lift the ban.
“This is fun; I’m so proud,” Maldonado told The Record. “I am accepted, and I’m actually in Boy Scouts.” His mother Kristie said she was “proud of the fight” she had put up after being told her son would no longer be allowed to participate. Even though the Boy Scouts lifted the ban, she was uncomfortable with letting her son return to Pack 87. “I never would have been able to just drop Joe off there and feel safe,” she said of the Secaucus pack. “I know there are loving and caring people here,” she said of Pack 20 in Essex.
New pack leader Kyle Hackler helped Maldonado put on his new uniform and taught him the Cub Scout oath and salute. “This means you’re the same as Scouts all over the world,” Hackler told him. Back in December, Hackler petitioned the Northern New Jersey Council to allow Maldonado to join his group, but at that time the Boy Scouts issued a statement saying they would still only use the gender listed on birth certificates to determine eligibility.
Last week the Boy Scouts issued a statement to announce they have changed their policytowards transgender participants. On Tuesday, the Boy Scouts issued another statement saying that they were “pleased to welcome Joe and the Maldonado family back into the Scouting community. Moving forward, the BSA will continue to work to bring the benefits of our programs to as many children, families and communities as possible.”