Boy Scouts open membership to transgender boys

The Boy Scouts of America says it will begin accepting members based on the gender indicated on their applications, opening the door for transgender children to become scouts. The Boy Scouts of America National office is pictured here in Irving, Texas.

(CNN) — 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.”