Boy Scouts Propose Dropping Ban on Gay Members but Keeping Ban on Gay Leaders

Comments

1
Even though it IS bullshit, it can't not be called "compromise."

I'll take it as a sign that their resolve is crumbling, though.
2
Young gay scouts, please be aware that for you, after boyhood you morph into a monster unfit for scouting. Any questions?
3
It's too bad they don't ban pedophiles and homophobes, though.

Are they just too difficult to spot or something? Is it because they look just like the rest of us?
4
Remember how in order to get all the way to marriage equality in Washington state, we had to first do non-discrimination legislation, then limited domestic partnerships, then civil unions, then finally marriage equality? Give the Boy Scouts a little credit here. They're finally on the right path. Hopefully soon the Scouts will be ready for full inclusion, but sometimes you have to get there in steps.
5
Do they ban Catholic clergy?
6
Well, I guess it is a small shift in the right direction. Tiny, but better than status quo.
7
@4

No.

We can acknowledge that a lessening of bigotry is progress, and that reopening the Scouts to gay kids is progress, without "giving the Scouts a little credit" or claiming that they are "on the right path."

You don't "give a bully credit" for putting down the bat.

I will give the individuals within the Scouts who are demanding change and fighting for inclusion credit for making this progress, but "the Scouts" are still acting reprehensibly.
8
I get the sense not many (any?) of you guys were in the scouts, but as a guy who was in scouting for about 13 years, I think this should be said:

The structure of the organization is such that individual troops decide how they operate, they do not "take orders" from the heads of the BSA. The boys actually run the troop, they decide how the meetings are run, they decide what trips to go on, they decide the leadership structure, etc. The adults merely offer guidance and transportation.

The vast majority of people actually running the show do not discriminate. My troop never discriminated against anyone. As usual, there are very vocal people near the top who claim to speak for everyone. But these people do not actually run things.

I am not saying those who believe people should be dicriminated against are not around, or that their beliefs are not reprehensible. But do not blame the scouts, and do not blame 99% of the adult leaders. The vast core of the group are decent, and the Boy Scouts help tons of kids every year, gay and atheist kids included.

Blame the handful of old assholes at the top pretending to dictate how the boys run themselves.
9
Once you make Eagle Scout are you sent to Carousel? I suspect this will shift as boys grow up as openly gay scouts and straight boys grow up with openly gay scouts. Bye, bad old guard.

Thanks for the insight, @8.
10
@8: former Life scout here from the early '70s. That sure doesn't sound much like my old troop, run by a bunch of reserve military guys during the Vietnam era. We were told exactly what we were and weren't going to do. On the trip to the 1973 Jamboree at Coeur D'Lane it was one episode of bullying after another. When it got really tense the scoutmasters formed a ring and had some of the boys fight it out with the rest of the troops egging them on. If you were gay like me you make yourself as invisible as possible, kept close to the more sympathetic adults, and hoped they'd pick on some other hapless kid. Pretty awful.
11
Don't Ask, Don't Lead.
12
@2 exactly
13
A political compromise is when neither side gets 100% of what they wanted. This is a baby step, in time they'll drop the scout leader ban.
14
@8 is correct, scouts (are suppose to) run the troop. The only time that being a gay scout matters is when you go for your Eagle Scout Award. That is when homophobe reverends/leaders/parents can tank a gay scout.

I think this is a really good step, as scouting is something you become invested in before and during your sexual development. It was never fair to gay/bi scouts to cut them off in an organization that you've been in since you were 6, an organization that your father, uncles, and grandparents were probably in and has become a family institution. Coming out as a gay/bi scout means losing a huge part of your life that you joined before you might have been aware of your sexual identity.
15
Slight, incremental progress?
16
I think it's a reasonable compromise for now. The organization is still fundamentally homophobic, but it means that boys who come out won't be denied becoming an eagle scout. Hopefully when enough scouts are openly gay the organization will start to see that gay people aren't actually all that scary.
17
@8
Spot on. I'm an Eagle Scout and was in a troop run by my dad and his friends. It was an immensely positive force in my life. A place where I learned to love the outdoors and had my first bittersweet taste of leadership as a Senior Patrol Leader. Religion and dogma were entirely absent. Military fetishism was strictly forbidden. Mostly it was a lot of highly-skilled leave-no-trace backpacking trips in the mountains outside of Los Angeles. All my fondest memories from age 11 to 18 are on Scout trips.

I did feel obligated to lie about god to get my Eagle. Not terribly Scout-like, but I tried to make up for my atheism in other ways.

I'm happy that the national leadership is beginning to look in the right direction, but I wouldn't expect any significant changes for years. The best thing is for folks to support the local troops that operate in a positive, ethical, and accepting manner. If my unborn child is a boy, I plan to do so.
18
All the Eagle Scouts I know are either gay, kinky, atheist or some combination of the three. They all just lied about it. Which seems counterintuitive to the values scouting wishes to instill I'm thinking.
19
@10: Sorry about that, I can not say how the scouts were in the 70's, I was in the program in the 90's, and it was nothing like that.

@17: Hell yeah, Senior Patrol Leader for life. Your experiences sound a lot like mine; I was in the Baltimore Area Council. It is a great way for urban kids to get out into nature and learn to appreciate it.

I am so glad I was in the scouts; I met friends I still have, I learned skills I still use, and they gave me the chance to do things I never could have done otherwise. If I ever have a son, I will definitely urge him to join up.

Did you ever make it out to Philmont? I got to go twice, and would not trade the experience for anything.
20
@17 I appreciate your perspective, but the phrase "make up for my atheism" made me shudder a little. I hope you meant "make up for lying about my atheism". I hope you didn't grow up thinking your nonbelief was something to be ashamed of.
21
@17: I think it really depends on what part of the country you were from. My scout troop was in southern Oklahoma, where it functioned as a kind of pre-ROTC. Most boys were in it for the camping. I was one of the few in my troop who took it seriously - I was also our SPL.
22
Hmmm....they must be losing financial support to constantly be bringing up adjustments to their gay bias (which remains in place).

Mormons, who have controlled the BSA for several years now, have lots of dough, but they don't want to support the Boy Scouts all by themselves apparently.
23
If they allow homosexuals but not females then it is discriminatory because it is socializing homosexuality but not heterosexuality.
24
@8, @10 Former Life scout here from the late 70s, early 80s. Probably varies from troop to troop in a given city, too, and over time as different parents come and go. In my experience, a few dads set the tone, and let the kids do some of the work, but we certainly were not running the show.

Except for the first year or so, my troop in Littleton, CO had a scoutmaster who was a bearded engineer, probably on the liberal side of that population, since I remember his older son giving a presentation against a big dam/drinking water project on the South Platte river. I can't remember for sure, I assume he was some kind of Xtian (pretty much everybody in Littleton in the 70s was, except one of my elementary teachers was from Hawaii and Buddhist), but that God character practically never came up except in the occasional rote recitation of the Scout Oath. He was a good storyteller, and in my last year or so, we had a couple of leadership retreats with him and the senior scouts, during which we spent most of the time playing Dungeons and Dragons with him as the Dungeon Master. He ran a fun game!

This was probably a rare situation, and I'd be surprised if the same troop wasn't very different a few years later. That Scoutmaster lived only a few blocks from the site of the Mormon temple that opened in Littleton a couple of years after I graduated from high school.
25
Best I can recall, it was in Boy Scouts that I learned how to use "fag" as a slur.
26
How nice for the gay scouts, knowing that, while they are tolerated as children, they will become anathema as soon as they reach the age of 18.
27
@24: my troop met at the Presbyterian Church, and we prayed at every meeting. I didn't think much of it at the time since pretty much the whole town was Protestant. There was one small Catholic church that my mom referred to as the "idol worshippers" and warned me to stay well away from. Jews were exotic people in Bible picture books who burned incense, wore jeweled breastplates, and make animal sacrifices. (My Jewish atheist husband and his family got a big kick out of that one..."How long have you been practicing Jewcraft?")

It shouldn't come as much of a surprise that the troop reflected the makeup of the town. Our troop was a product of the Silent Majority polarization of the Vietnam era. Questioning how the troop did things was tantamount to being accused of being one of those dreaded (and locally nonexistent) hippies. Not all that different than today, truth be told. Only the names have changed.