Boy Scouts open membership to transgender children

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PAYSON, UT - JULY 31: A Boy Scout attends camp Maple Dell on July 31, 2015 outside Payson, Utah. The Mormon Church is considering pulling out of its 102 year old relationship with the Boy Scouts after the Boy Scouts changed it's policy on allowing gay leaders in the organization. Over 99% of the Boy Scout troops in Utah are sponsored by the Mormon Church. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)

The Boy Scouts of America says it will begin accepting members based on their gender identity, opening the door for transgender boys to join.

Under the new policy, which takes effect immediately, membership in Cub and Boy Scouts will be based on the gender indicated on an application.

Previously, the organization relied on an individual’s birth certificate to determine eligibility for its single-gender programs.

“However, that approach is no longer sufficient as communities and state laws are interpreting gender identity differently, and these laws vary widely from state to state,” BSA spokeswoman Effie Delimarkos said in a statement Monday.

“Starting today, we will accept and register youth in the Cub and Boy Scout programs based on the gender identity indicated on the application. Our organization’s local councils will help find units that can provide for the best interest of the child.”

Zach Wahls, co-founder of Scouts for Equality, applauded the decision.

“This is another historic day for the Boy Scouts of America. The decision to allow transgender boys to participate in the Cub Scouts and the Boy Scouts is an important step forward for this American institution.”