Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Boy Scouts of America and equality

Being an openly gay man who believes in equality and fights every day for it, I have never really cared for or about the Boy Scouts. I have friends whose kids are involved in the Boy Scouts, and on that local level I think it can be great. The policies I have a problem with come from the top, the leadership of the BSA.

In some ways, I look at them as simply as an extension of the bigoted and discriminatory thought process of the Catholic and Mormon churches.

Their policy against gay men having anything to with the Boy Scouts has been hurtful to some, devastating to many more.

Before I continue please remember that I was raised Catholic and loved it. A lot of my family members and friends are Catholic, and I still believe that the work Catholic priests and nuns did in Central America in the '70s and '80s in regards to human rights was incredibly brave and part of what convinced me to be an activist. And what strengthened my faith. Social justice and human rights are still at the core for some in the Catholic church.

Back to the Boy Scouts. You might have heard that they are considering changing their policies around gay men. I haven't read all of the press reports yet but what I have read isn't that promising. This chapter over here could be safe for an openly gay man but this chapter over there, well no thank you. After years of telling chapters across the country who they can or cannot allow in, they suddenly feel that telling chapters who they can allow in is wrong. Seriously?

Yes, seriously.

On the other gender side of this you have the Girl Scouts. No policy against openly lesbian women participating on any level and they are thriving. By the way, I need to buy some Girl Scout cookies! Mike just told me that there are two vegan options this year. Those of you who know a girl scout, send them my way!

Bigotry is ugly. It harms more people than we know, and on more levels than we can even comprehend. And the biggest problem that I have with it is that is is absolutely unnecessary.

Bigotry is unnecessary.

We don't have to like everything about a person to honor their humanness. To respect them. To realize that they have the right to exist and to live in a world free of hatred or violence, whatever form that violence takes.

The Boy Scouts of America still don't get it.

Thank you for reading.


  1. Bigotry is absolutely unnecessary! I never understood this policy.

  2. I never understood their policies either - short-sighted.

    PS - what two Girl Scout flavors are vegan?? I did not know!

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  4. Assuming the BSA rescinds the policy, I think it's okay to be more optimistic than this. You're absolutely right that they've fostered a culture of bigotry and exclusion. I have little doubt that many groups will continue to exclude gays informally. The BSA is clearly not the automatically safe place for some that it is for others.

    But look on the bright side. For one, the policy change is angering people like this. More importantly, though, we have to start somewhere. Any time you force integration on a population who isn't used to it, you're going to run into some friction. Those brave people who are the first to take advantage of the new policy may be harmed (or worse), but eventually things start to get better. At least, that's the idea - but I don't see why it won't work for the BSA.

    Doug: the Lemonades, Thanks-A-Lots and Mango Crèmes look vegan to me. Details.