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Boy Scout Casey Chambers carries a rainbow flag during the San Francisco Gay Pride Festival in California June 29, 2014. REUTERS/Noah Berger

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(Reuters) - The Boy Scouts of America said on Monday the group would begin accepting transgender boys, bucking its more than a century-old practice of using the gender stated on a birth certificate to determine eligibility.

"Starting today, we will accept and register youth in the Cub and Boy Scout programs based on the gender identity indicated on the application," Boy Scouts of America communications director Effie Delimarkos said in an emailed statement.

Delimarkos' cited shifting definitions of gender under state laws, which can "vary widely from state to state," in explaining the change.

Delimarkos said while the organisation offers programs for all youths, its Cub and Boy Scout programs are specifically for boys. The change will allow children to apply even if male is not listed on their birth certificate.

In 2013, the Boy Scouts voted to lift a ban on openly gay scouts that had been in place throughout the organisation's history. Two years later, the organisation lifted its blanket ban on gay adult leaders after its president called the ban unsustainable.

(Reporting by Curtis Skinner in San Francisco; Editing by Sandra Maler and Cynthia Osterman)

Reuters