Forward Performing Arts had taken action on this issue before publication of the article. Facebook post from October 26, 2017:
Over the past few years, the Madison Scouts have received an increasing number of membership inquiries from transgender people interested in joining the corps. In the absence of any formal policy, we have cited sexual assignment at birth as the eligibility standard and helped students who did not meet that criteria find a suitable option with other drum corps. Accordingly, in September, I asked the Forward Performing Arts Board of Directors to consider this issue, and a committee was formed to examine this matter more closely.
At the October 16th board meeting, the committee presented a recommendation to the board to amend its existing eligibility policy to include transgender males beginning in 2018. The board unanimously approved the recommendation and has been working with the National Center for Transgender Equality over the past two weeks to draft a policy with appropriate language. Eligibility for the 2018 Madison Scouts will be based on the gender identity indicated by the applicant, including transgender males.
Since its beginning in 1938, the Madison Scouts has a long and commendable history of diversity and inclusion. For 80 years, the corps has been racially integrated and was led by an African-American drum major its inaugural year. Originally started as a Boy Scout Troop, the organization was all-male by regulation. Over time, the corps has evolved within the activity and within society to serve a diverse membership, with different races, ethnicities, religions, sexual orientations, and economic backgrounds. These differences have helped make the Madison Scouts what it is today—a place where a young person can explore their world via performance.
The Madison Scouts is no longer associated with the Boys Scouts of America, but has chosen to maintain its “all-male” membership requirement, not in an effort to circumvent gender equality, but rather to create an environment where young men are taught the characteristic standards of being a better man without mixed-sex influences. We believe that we provide a unique and experiential offering based on the all-male environment that is unique within the pageantry world, where other co-ed opportunities exist.
The Madison Scouts will continue to provide an educational environment where our membership develops life skills that will serve them effectively in their adult lives. We do so by creating an environment of both adversity and diversity, a place and an activity where one can push themselves beyond what they currently understand. We will continue to explore our changing world and adapt in the most appropriate means necessary to serve this mission.
Chris Komnick - Executive Director
Gregg Auby - President, Board of Directors