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boy scouts

Another win for gay rights appears to be on the horizon. A little over a year ago, the gay-rights community was celebrating the end of “don’t ask, don’t tell” (DADT), a policy that prohibited openly homosexual persons from serving in the U.S. military. Middle-of-the-road stances like DADT have been popular among government and private institutions alike, but in recent years have buckled under the pressure of a shifting national conscious.

And now one of America’s oldest and largest youth organizations is considering taking a leap in its own stance, from middle to left. The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) was founded in 1910 and has long disallowed the membership of “avowed homosexuals.”

According to its own standards, BSA does not ask for or seek information about an applicant’s sexual orientation, a practice that allows homosexuals to participate secretly. However, the not-so-secret dismissal of a lesbian den leader, Jennifer Tyrrell, as well as the disapproval of an openly gay California teen, has re-focused controversy on the issue.

Many reports indicate that current members welcome the idea of terminating the ban, as such a restriction feels inconsistent with one of BSA’s core principles: respect for all persons. However, there is the possibility that churches, which have a significant impact on sponsorship, would dissociate themselves if the ban was lifted. Additionally, there are some outspoken parents that have repeatedly voiced their discomfort, especially with the idea of their children being supervised by openly gay leaders.

This discomfort is only heightened when one considers that the BSA is still responding to evidence that it failed to properly handle reports of sexual abuse from members.

Considering the all-male make-up of the organization, would you agree that such parental concerns are legitimate? Should the ban stand? Or should it be lifted, as a reflection of BSA’s internal values and the growing national acceptance of gay rights?

-J. Alexander

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  • I think that they need to have an “all or nothing” policy with this, instead of kicking the can and placing the responsibility on each local chapter. Because then gays and lesbians who are unlucky enough to live in areas where the majority of people are against gay leaders are out of luck. Either the organization is open to gay leaders or they aren’t.

    Of course, like most things this probably all comes down to money. So if they think they’ll take a bit hit financially, they won’t do it. And vice versa.

  • “Additionally, there are some outspoken parents that have repeatedly voiced their discomfort, especially with the idea of their children being supervised by openly gay leaders.”

    This is always funny to me. Do they think they’ll ‘turn’ their kids gay? Sit them down and make them watch RuPauls Drag Race? Or do they think all gay/lesbians are sexual deviants that cannot keep their hands off of little boys and girls? Because truth is, many kids who are victims of sexual abuse are usually violated by a family member.

    Many of these organizations, (BSA, Catholic Church) have rampant homosexuality behind closed doors, forcing people to feel shame opposed to having someone you can look up to as a positive role model. I mean geesh, parents never thought the married with kids Sandusky was a predator.

  • Yea, I said it

    I think it is more they don’t want a.) their kids exposed to that lifestyle and b.) they don’t want what they are teaching contradicted. For example if they are devout Christians, Muslims, etc. who believe that’s a sin. And more to the point, the Boy Scout is supposed to be about hardy, rugged boys, not female impersonators. Yes, I know, we all know that not all gay men are extra. But still, it’s like DODT.It probably wasn’t intended to stop gay ppl from serving, just to eliminate certain behavior. And I ,for one, am with them when they are right. Personally, I was never a scout and it’s not my kinda of thing, but they should keep the ban. They won’t, but they should.

    The whole thing about the boy/girl scouts is they are old-fashioned. They’re supposed to be a reminder of that old school sanitized US that never really existed. And they are supposed to be teaching boys and girls how to be men and women. This is not a LGBTQQI workshop. This will just mess that up.

    • The fact is, these organizations already have homosexuals; albeit closeted, but they are still there. Anyone who doesn’t want their kids “exposed to that lifestyle” seems to have issues. As if an openly gay adult is going to be discussing his/her personal life to children or having wild crazy gay sex surrounded by boxes of Girl Scout cookies during meetings.

      And as far as the BSA meant to be about “rugged boys”, that isn’t true. Its about morals and integrity, keeping children off of the streets and builds character: all traits that can be learned from any positive role model.

      All while wearing matching short sets and ascots…

    • Aragon

      You realize that what you’ve said goes very much along with the lines of old excuses for racial discrimination in BSA, right? If they’re supposed to be “old-fashioned,” they would also be all white clubs for good old boys.

      The Girl Scouts are already accepting girls and women who are lesbian or trans*, so bringing them up doesn’t really help your argument at all.

      Just take a moment to think critically about what lines of reasoning you’re defending.

  • Stop the BS

    A lot of people who have no problem usually don’t have children and are not hetero. I really don’t care what people think who don’t have sons and /or are homosexual. Your politics are not mine. My kids are mine! I am responsible.Many gays males were sexually molested. Nobody wants to talk about this. Have most of these men had counseling? No mother or father wants their son left alone with someone like this. I would not want my daughter left alone with heterosexual older males, period. This even includes family. I would not risk my daughter being violated.Its not smart. Be PC all you want but I am going to protect my children. You don’t take risks with your kids just to look like you are open minded. No you cant protect your children from everything, but you need to be smart.

  • Stop the BS

    A lot of people who have no problem usually don’t have children and are not hetero. I really don’t care what people think who don’t have sons and /or are homosexual. Your politics are not mine. My kids are mine! I am responsible.
    Many gays males were sexually molested. Nobody wants to talk about this. Have most of these men had counseling? No mother or father wants their son left alone with someone like this. I would not want my daughter left alone with heterosexual older males, period. This even includes family. I would not risk my daughter being violated.Its not smart. Be PC all you want but I am going to protect my children. You don’t take risks with your kids just to look like you are open minded. No you cant protect your children from everything, but you need to be smart.

    • Shirl

      And you posted this nonsense twice huh…Good for you.

    • Aragon

      You realize that most people are molested by their family members, right? So, in you’re desire to be “smart” about protecting your children, are you going to isolate them from your parents, your siblings, even yourselves? I mean, I guess since your daughter isn’t being left with heterosexual older males, she won’t ever be meeting her father or grandfather, so maybe that is in fact your plan.

      I hope you also realize that the vast majority of people who were molested 1) are not themselves molesters and 2) are heterosexual. And I hope you also realize that “many” is an entirely useless word to use in a line or argumentation, even if you’re trying to argue on pathos alone. In a world of 7 billion, a meaningless fraction of almost any group is “many.”