Boy Scouts Should Welcome Lesbian Leaders

boy scoutsWhen no parents wanted to step up and take the responsibility of being a Boy Scout leader, Denise Steele decided to. She became an assistant scout master in her son Jackson's troop in their Virginia town -- and it worked out swimmingly. The troop excelled at everything. They accomplished badges and even won the coveted Blue and Gold Award all five years, one of the highest awards for Boy Scouts.

But it came to an abrupt halt.

See, Denise was removed from the troop after one of the other assistant scout masters discovered she was a lesbian.


Steele had been involved with her son's Boy Scouts for six years. She started out as a den mother, then worked her way up, completing the typically year-long training to become a scout leader in three weeks. She also was completely open about her lifestyle and her domestic partnership with girlfriend Jackie Funk with scout master Mike Tucker. It was never an issue. Until one weekend ...

Steele had Funk pick her up after a camping trip with the troop, and after the two pulled away, one of the other assistant scout masters, Skip Inabinett, started questioning who Denise's friend was. When he found out, he started his crusade to not only have her removed, but to "right her." He sent her emails, telling her her lifestyle was a sin, she should change for Christ etc. In short, he bullied her. Then he had her kicked out.

Instead of going through the proper protocol -- talking to the scout leader first, then the committee, then the district -- Inabinett went straight to the conservative Boy Scouts of America with his complaint to have her removed. And it worked.

My main question is: When the hell are the Boy Scouts going to make the leap to the 21st century? Kicking somebody out because of their sexual orientation isn't just cruel, it's archaic. And, sidebar, they don't seem to have any problems letting pedophiles in as scout leaders.

Steele was a good leader -- and that's what the boys need. I mean, isn't that the main intention of the Boy Scouts? To make them honest people and good leaders? Somebody like Inabinett -- who has zero tolerance, who is motivated by fear, and who doesn't follow rules -- should have been the one to have been kicked out. Not Denise Steele.

What do you think about this?


Image via Jinx!/Flickr

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