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8-Year-Old Transgender Boy Asked To Leave New Jersey Cub Scout Pack, Family Says

SECAUCUS, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) -- It's a decision that echos across the country -- a boy accepted into the Cub Scouts then booted out.

The family of an 8-year-old New Jersey boy says he was kicked out of the scouts because he is transgender, a move that could open a new front in the debate over discrimination in Scouting.

Like any kid after Christmas, Joe Maldonado is excited to show off his presents -- a drone and a football.

He tells CBS2's Meg Baker he never liked "girl things." Born a female, Jody -- now Joe -- is transgender.

Joe's mom, Kristie Maldonado, signed the 8-year-old up for Cub Scouts in Secaucus, making it very clear that he was transgender.

After about a month, she said she got a call from head counsel for Boy Scouts saying he could no longer be part of the organization.

"They kicked me out because I am a girl -- born a girl," Joe said.

Joe has identified as male for more than a year. Kristie said Joe is accepted as a boy at school and that it was complaints from parents -- not Joe's fellow Scouts -- that led to his ouster.

"I felt angry," she said. "He was having a good time."

But the third grader's mother knows this is a much bigger national issue.

The Boy Scouts of America endured years of controversy before ultimately lifting bans on gay Scouts and leaders in recent years. But spokeswoman Effie Delimarkos said in a statement the organization considers transgender children as a separate issue.

"No youth may be removed from any of our programs on the basis of his or her sexual orientation,'' she said, but added: "Gender identity isn't related to sexual orientation.''

She declined to directly address Joe's situation or say if there's a written policy on transgender participants. The statement said Cub Scout programs are for those identified as boys on their birth certificates.

Delimarkos said Maldonado did not meet the eligibility requirements and they provided the family with information on alternative co-ed programs offered by the organization.

Sarah McBride, National Press Secretary of the Human Rights Campaign, said the Boy Scouts should follow the Girl Scouts' lead.

"Denying a young boy an opportunity shared by his peers simply because he is transgender is wrong," McBride said in a statement. "The Boy Scouts of America, and their local chapters, should follow the inclusive lead of the Girl Scouts, which have made clear that transgender young people are welcomed and embraced as who they are. As we have seen over the last year in the national outcry to North Carolina's HB2, discriminating against transgender people - and particularly trans young people - is not just bad policy, it is also deeply unpopular with businesses and business leaders, as well as fair-minded Americans."

The national Girl Scouts organization, which is not affiliated with the Boy Scouts, has accepted transgender members for years.

A spokesman for the Newark Roman Catholic Archdiocese said it had nothing to do with the Boy Scouts' decision. He declined further comment.

The American Families Association agrees with the Scout's decision.

"Simply because the girl thinks she's a boy doesn't make her a boy," a spokesman told CBS2. "She's a girl."

For Joe, it's just about being able to spend time with friends.

(TM and © Copyright 2016 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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