With the Boy Scouts of America considering a reversal on their sexual orientation restrictions, the 103-year-old organization is getting some healthy feedback, both pro and con. Wasn't it just last summer when BSA had firmly stated its 'No Gays' policy? So, what's changed?
A rapidly declining membership for one. Then there are the high-profile withdrawals of financial backing (Merck, Intel, UPS, United Way), negative headlines, incredibly bad decisions and inside pressure (from BSA national executive board members, James Turley, Ernst & Young CEO, and Randall Stephenson, AT&T CEO) - all colliding into a reality that BSA found hard to ignore.
But whether or not the changes are put in place, one can't help think about Scouts of the past and what it was like for them (many, presumably gay) to wear the badges, learn the knots and live by the three-finger salute.
I recently came across a noteworthy post, Open Letter to Boy Scouts of America, by Dan, over at Single Dad Laughing, and if you are concerned about this issue, it must be read. No matter where you stand, it's refreshing to hear from a former Boy Scout - who happens to not be straight - on this polarizing issue:
"I remember how much emphasis was placed on what was considered normal family life and normal sexuality. Leaders talked about it from time to time. The other scouts laughed about it often. No one ever had any doubt that being anything other than straight was a quick ticket to being outcast. I wanted to disappear or cease to exist on more than one occasion.
I went to camp every summer with my friends. I went to meetings every week. I stood in the rain and the mud with those guys.
And here’s the thing: I never wanted to have sex with any of them. I never wanted to experiment sexually with any of them. I never wanted to do anything sexual at all, ever, with any of them.
I just wanted to be accepted and feel like I wasn’t worthless. I was a preteen. Nothing else mattered..."
Here's hoping the BSA actually reads this letter (and so many like it) and reconsiders their position.
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