An eight-year-old New Jersey boy said he’s angry for being kicked out of Cub Scouts because he’s transgender.
Eight-year-old Joe Maldonado joined Cub Scouts in October but a month later was kicked out, according to NBC affiliate WNBC, because he was assigned female at birth.
“I felt upset and angry at them,” said Joe to WNBC. “I don’t know, it’s just [not] fair…if I were them I would definitely let, you know, us, different [people], any person in.”
According to WNBC, Joe has been identifying as a male for over a year.
GLAAD, formerly the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, wrote on their website transgender people are those “whose gender identity and/or gender expression differs from what is typically associated with the sex they were assigned at birth.”
Joe’s mother, Kristie Maldonado , told WNBC the Cub Scouts were aware of her son’s male identity from the beginning.
“I was in shock, upset, because I thought it was fine. I paid the fee, I got permission saying that it was okay and now I have to tell my son that he can longer be in the Scouts,” said Maldonado to WNBC.
Maldonado claimed the reason Joe had to leave was because other parents began complaining.
“The kids didn’t have a problem. He’s with all his friends, he was having fun,” Maldonado said.
“Nobody ever said ‘oh, you don’t belong here because you’re a girl’. Nobody ever said that,” Joe added.
A spokesperson for the Boy Scouts of America said in a statement that the organization sees “gender identity” as separate to one’s sexual orientation.
“No youth may be removed from any of our programs on the basis of his or her sexual orientation,” the spokesperson told NorthJersey.com. “Gender identity isn’t related to sexual orientation.”
Now, the leader of a Cub Scout troop in Maplewood, Kyle Hackler, is petitioning against the removal of Joe.
Hackler told WNBC he believed Joe was kicked out because there is a “lack of knowledge about the transgender community and gender identity.”
“It breaks my heart to see that this little boy is going through this situation,” said Hackler. “All he wants to do is be with his friends.”
“How dare they judge me?” Joe told NorthJersey.com “I don’t have to explain it. It’s the way I’m born.”
Global News reached out to the Boy Scouts of America for comment and received the following statement:
“Recently, a family started the process of registering their child for Cub Scouting. During this process, it was brought to our attention that their child does not meet the eligibility requirements to participate in this program, so Boy Scouts of America (BSA) leadership reached out to the family to inform them and share information on alternative programs. For instance, the BSA also offers co-ed programs through Learning for Life, STEM Scouts (in markets where available) and Venturing, a program for young men and women ages 14-20.
“The BSA grants youth membership to Cub Scouts to boys in the first through fifth grades, or 7 to 10 years of age. If needed, we defer to the information provided for an individual’s birth certificate and their biological sex.
“Scouting teaches its youth members and adult leaders to be respectful of other people and individual beliefs.”