While Boy Scouts Decide the Future of Gay Members, Parents Have a Decision to Make Too

Boy ScoutsNext week, the Boy Scouts will hold their National Annual Meeting which, like most events of its kind, is an opportunity to put pressing issues on the table for discussion. And when they do, they’ll make a decision that weighs the future of the organization against the regulations of its past: whether or not to lift an existing ban on gay members.

Boy Scouts is one in a thinning crowd of holdouts still practicing this brand of exclusionism. At least on paper, other entities have stepped up to support—or, at the bare minimum, tolerate—the LGBT community. If the Scouts’ powers that be move to accept gay boys, it probably will be less because of some great sweep of sensitivity and more due to public pressure and bias-shaming (because we don’t already have enough terms that have “shaming” tacked onto the end). 

Parents are still divided almost evenly on the issue (48 percent still support the ban). But I can’t help but wonder: would it make a difference if all moms and dads stood in solidarity with the ostracized families and refused to allow their children to participate in any activity that purposely excludes other kids based on something as intrinsic and natural as their sexuality?

Would it be a teachable moment on acceptance or would it be an unnecessary sacrifice for the straight kids? And more importantly, would it speed the decision along?

It’s not like trying out for the team and cutting cut. It’s an exercise in purposeful exclusion based on who these folks are as people, part of what makes them them.

Even if the Boy Scouts allow everyone from all backgrounds, orientations, races, preferences and communities to know the joy of scouting, there’s still a standing discrimination against adults. That sends a mixed message to the kids—straight and gay—about perpetuating pre-judgments and bowing to manufactured social fears. So to that ban-lifting thing, it kind of needs to be all-in in order to really be effective.

We’ll wait and see what happens. And in the meantime, send spirit fingers and positive vibes and prayers (yes, some of us still do that) that we can take a step, albeit an overdue, tentative one, into treating all kids and all adults the same. Here’s to hoping.  

Would you pull your kid from an activity or organization if its leaders weren’t practicing equality?



Image via stevendepolo/Flickr

boys, in the news, kid activities

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nonmember avatar HeatherRK

I did pull my oldest son out of BSA last year because of their treatment of other boys at the national level. Even though our pack was good, it had never been tested with this situation and I wasn't able to say how they'd react if they were. He hasn't suffered, we've found other activities to do and he has fun in other things. I told him exactly why we weren't doing scouts any more, it is definitely a lesson in inclusiveness and I'm glad I had the opportunity to teach him.

nonmember avatar baz212

My 9 year old son is a fifth grader this year and just received his Arrow of Light Award from Webelos. He chose not to move up to Boy Scouts because he doesn't like their discriminatory practices. I was pretty damn proud of him!

Bike Guy

 


 


Actually, the overwhelming majority of Americans (55% to 33%) want to end the ban on gay teens and gay adults. In a national election that is a landslide.


 


The ban was put in place in 1992 under Mormons pressure. Mormons are 1.7% of the USA but control more than a third of troops. Most Mormons troops are 100% Mormon. Mormon and Baptist troops often hold religious services, making the Scouting experience a church.


 


Christian conservatives are bent on destroying the American branch of the Boy Scouts by making it a sectarian, religious organization.


 


Scouting remains non-sectarian and does not discriminate in other leading Scouting nations, such as France, Canada, Mexico, Australia, or the UK, where Scouting was founded.


 


If BSA keeps the ban, they should give up the hallowed name Boy Scouts of America, leaving it to an inclusive, truly American organization. They can call themselves the Boy Scouts of Christian Conservatives, the 33%, and be done with it.


 


 

Skitt... Skittlesfire

Me and a boyfriend broke up because his family was scouts for generations and I said when we have kids unless policies change they will not be joining a hateful organization.i also don't eat at chick fil a

nonmember avatar Mike Walworth

I am not a Mormon, and the "Actually, the overwhelming majority of Americans (55% to 33%) want to end the ban on gay teens and gay adults." isn't true. Boys Scouts are not hateful. Nor are Christians. How do I know? Because I am one.(Protestant) I do not meet at a church. In fact, I meet at the Sherwood Tri-County Gun Club. Does that sound like a church? By the way, Christian conservatives are not bent on destroying the American branch of the Boy Scouts by making it a sectarian, religious organization. I meet with a lot of high-ranking Scout officials frequently, due to my rank within the Order of the Arrow. (a group of elite Scouts dedicated to service, a branch of the Scouts). From recent real polls, less that 33% of troops are controlled by the Mormons.

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