The Boy Scouts of America announced in January that they are changing their policy of determining the gender of their participants from birth certificates alone. According to their announcement, “that approach is no longer sufficient as communities and state laws are interpreting gender identity differently, and these laws vary from state to state.”
Under the new policy, transgender youth will be permitted into the separate gender-based programs according to the gender with which they identify as listed on their application. Previous policies required a birth certificate to determine gender identity.
But some Christians express concern since such programs involve shared changing rooms and sleeping facilities. The issue brought up heated discussion among churches that carried scout programs when the Boy Scouts amended its adult leadership policy to include homosexual adult leaders in 2015.
According to John Stemberger, founder of On My Honor and chairman of the board of Trail Life USA, a Christian alternative to the Boy Scouts, the decision poses a child protection issue. Trail Life CEO Mark Hancock issued a statement to reassure parents of their members: “We are committed to the timeless biblical values affirmed in our Statement of Faith and Values.”