When you go to your local Boy Scout camp, you’ll see a wide array of things that you might expect, like a locker room and bathrooms.
But it’s not the same for every camp.
At some camps, the gender-specific decor is the only thing on the walls.
And at others, it’s everywhere.
The Boy Scout Bicentennial Committee of the Southern Association of Boy Scouts, which represents the Boy Scouts in the South, has made clear that gender-sensitive decor is on the chopping block.
This week, the committee sent a letter to the Boy Scout Council, calling for the removal of gender-inclusive decorations.
The letter also called for the Boy Council to “examine and eliminate” a policy that prohibits the use of “gender-neutral” signage and uniforms.
That policy, which the committee says is “in direct conflict with Boy Scout values,” was first put in place in 2010.
The policy states that the Boy Scouting motto should “stand for inclusion, not exclusion.”
But in recent years, the BSC has had to fight a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and others who argue that it is unconstitutional to exclude or discriminate against transgender youth.
In March, the ACLU announced it was suing the Boy’s Scouts of the USA over its ban on “gender neutral” clothing, a move that could have potentially legal consequences for transgender youth in the Boy C.S.A. The BSC said it “rejects” the ACLU’s lawsuit.
The ACLU has since filed a petition to have the policy reinstated.
But, despite the Bsc’s repeated efforts to downplay the policy’s impact on transgender youth, the policy has left many in the scouting community scratching their heads.
The American Civil Liberties Union filed the lawsuit in November 2015 in the Southern District of Texas, claiming that the BSA’s “gender inclusive” policy violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
“The Bsc has failed to protect transgender youth from discrimination because it refuses to acknowledge the fact that it’s gender-based,” said Sarah Warbelow, senior staff attorney with the ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender and Queer Resource Center, in a statement.
“It has also failed to provide any assurances that this policy will be applied in a manner that will protect transgender Boy Scouts and Boy Scouts members.”
As a result, many transgender youth have found themselves excluded from the Boy scouts’ organization, which has an annual budget of $2.3 billion and employs more than 5,800 people.
A 2011 survey conducted by the B.S.’s executive board found that only 3 percent of B.C. youth identified as transgender.
“Inclusion of transgender youth does not make them part of the Bcsc’s youth,” the Bancroft Commission found.
The commission said the BSc’s policy “has the potential to undermine the Boy scout’s commitment to inclusion and tolerance.”
According to the Buncroft commission’s report, the issue of transgender inclusion in scouting is not a matter of a “diversity” or “gender identity” but rather a “gender expression,” and it is “not uncommon for Scouting to use gender-appropriate language and imagery, such as uniforms and uniforms, to identify and describe a gender.”
“A policy that excludes transgender youth and their families from participating in the B Scouting program and the Bbc will do nothing to address this issue,” the commission wrote.
“This policy is based on outdated and unsupported ideas that transgender people should be segregated from the Scouting organization.”
Since the BCsc’s policy took effect in 2018, transgender youth who identify as transgender have filed hundreds of lawsuits against the Boca Raton, Florida-based organization.
In the last four years, transgender people have sued Boca, the organization in more than 60 lawsuits, including at least one filed against the Boy S.A., for its discriminatory policies and practices.
In one case, a transgender woman who was a member of the Boy B.A.’s organization in the early 1980s sued the Bocas for discriminating against her on the basis of her gender identity.
“We know that the discriminatory policies of the national Bsc organization are still in place today,” the lawsuit said.
“As a result of the discrimination we suffered, we were unable to pursue the legal rights we fought for.
We continue to fight for equal rights for transgender individuals and their allies.”