Praise on Tuesday from eagle scouts like Billy Sandora-Nastyn over the Boy Scouts of America's decision to accept transgender children into the program. “It just seems like the next step,” Sandora-Nastyn said. “It's better for people to be truthful while they're scouting. So, I think it's great for people to be able to live their lives.”
Local reps agree. According to the Greater Niagara Frontier Council, there's roughly 7000 scouts across Erie and western Niagara counties. And as far as officials know--none are transgender. But any are welcome. “We're happy to have children participate in Scouting and any boy that wants to be a part of Scouting, we want them to be involved in scouting,” said Scout Executive, Russell Etzenhouser.
Not everyone is pleased with the decision. After 7 Eyewitness News Everywhere posted the news to our Facebook page with a quote from the chief eagle scout asking the public to embrace the change. Jeffrey Routly wrote "not a chance." Tim McCool added "the B.S.A. will cease to exist within five years, watch."
“I can't imagine that it's going to have a significant impact. Our bottom line is to make sure we're serving children the best way possible,” Etzenhouser added.
Religious conservatives are also upset by the change. Some argue transgender children have a mental disorder. Doctor Tom Mazur is a psychiatrist who specializes in issues related to gender identity. He disagrees with that assertion. “I guess I would say The Boy Scouts are getting with the times. Gender ID issues can start to surface very early in life,” he said.