January 31, 2017
To stay up to date on the latest policy change go to www.scouting.org
Statement from the Gulf Coast Council, Boy Scouts of America
From: Spencer Page, Scout Executive
Re: Transgender Scouts
In the upcoming days, we may have many questions and possible miscommunication on the matter of transgender Scouting, so I feel it is important to be proactive with all concerned.
The Gulf Coast Council has a strong tradition of scouting. As a council we grew by more than 18% in 2016, and we expect to continue to grow our programs in 2017. Allowing transgender youth was not a policy change, but rather a decision to accept what the family indicates on an application when they register their child for a scouting program. The only change the BSA is making is that, in times past, if there was a question about the gender of a youth, we asked to see the birth certificate. Now, we are accepting what the family tells us.
Chartering organizations will continue to have the right to approve all membership for youth and adults based on their religious principles just as before; this policy has not changed.
I know that some of you may get questions about this, and I wanted to give you the facts as I know them. I will work for you daily to continue to grow scouting in the Gulf Coast Council. If any of you would like to talk further on this issue, please contact me on my cell phone or email. I am working with our National Office to get all information related to this issue and how it will impact you. Please continue to visit www.gulfcoastcouncil.org for updates. Thank you for your dedication to scouting and the youth of South Alabama and Northwest Florida. Below, you will find the statement that was released from the National Office:
"As one of America's largest youth-serving organizations, the Boy Scouts of America continues to work to bring the benefits or our programs to as many children, families and communities as possible.
While we offer a number of programs that serve all youth, Cub Scouting and Boy Scouting are specifically designed to meet the needs of boys. For more than 100 years, the Boy Scouts of America, along with schools, youth sports and other youth organizations, have ultimately deferred to the information on an individuals' birth certificate to determine eligibility for our 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.
Starting today, January 30th, 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.
The BSA is committed to identifying program options that will help us truly serve the whole family, and this is an area that we will continue to thoughtfully evaluate to bring benefits of Scouting to the greatest number of youth possible - all while remaining true to our core values, outlined in the Scout Oath and Law."
Again, thank all of you for what you do for scouting.