The Boy Scouts of America have reaffirmed their stance: no openly gay leaders, and, wow, no openly gay members. Sorry, young gay males who actually want to be Boy Scouts. Their loss.
politics, homophobia, boy scouts
Boy Scouts still dickheads, news until the Mormons either come around or stop being in charge of things.
Man, as a girl who grew up LDS and was in Girl Scouts, it bothered me that the church invests TONS of time and money into Boy Scouts but has nothing to do with Girl Scouts (probably because the organization is so horrible and tolerant and shit). The young women went camping and stuff, but if you're into that kind of thing it just wasn't nearly as comprehensive and interesting as what the guys did. Though things might have changed since the late 90s, I have no idea.
@maybe partying will help I don't think they have. Girl Scouts are still horrible and tolerant and shit, but how outdoorsy and scouty and whatnot they are seems to really vary depending on how much extra time and knowledge the individual leaders in a given area can bring to the table.
Oh, I meant like within the structure of the church. Boy Scouting is very seamlessly integrated into what LDS young men do/are expected to do; most of the activities prepared for young women are still in the mode of "when you grow up you are going to be a wife and mother." Once a year we went camping, but most what occurred during those trips I had already learned from my mom and/or Girl Scout activities outside the church.
Girl Scouting activities do seem to vary wildly though...we don't even all call the cookies by the same names! (Tagalongs, wtf??)
@maybe partying will help Well, now you can consider yourself lucky that the LDS church didn't spend so much time caring about what you did and influencing your scouting activities!
@I'm Right on Top of that, Rose
Yeah, in hindsight it wasn't exactly a bad thing, but at the time I was like, Why can't I work on my GS badge stuff at Mutual like the guys are working on their BS (hehehe) stuff?
@maybe partying will help Yeah, I totally get that. Why couldn't you be treated the same as the boys? I think we all know the answer now. (Hint: girls and/or gays =/= with heterosexual [read: REAL] boys.)
@maybe partying will help Girl Scout cookies are made by different bakeries (there are two or three nationwide licensees) and one of them has the rights to use certain names. When I lived in north Texas, the Girl Scout councils serving the eastern and western parts of the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex used different bakeries. It was a little confusing but great for trying both bakeries' limited-edition cookie varieties.
F the boy scouts. Sorry, but this is just terrible. Nurturing future generations of homophobia.
@CrescentMelissa Don't be sorry.
@CrescentMelissa I can just hear them discussing the matter at headquarters:
"We're the goddurn BOY Scouts! The expression doesn't go 'Snakes and snails and designer sales,' for chrissake!"
@olivebee Okay but "Snakes and snails and designer sales" = adorable kind of?
@okaycrochet It was a toss up between that and "manicured nails." I only WISH either one of those was how the expression actually went, because then maybe there wouldn't be any of that "little boys can't wear pink, little boys can't play with dolls," bullshit that our gender normative society perpetuates.
Sugar and spice and dissecting mice?
@CrescentMelissa So, my husband and his childhood best friend are both Eagle Scouts and they are actually both extremely tolerant. And atheists, which is technically not allowed either. They say that there were never discussions about any of this (both were in it through the 90s). I think it's one of those organizations where what happens at the top is fucking terrible and what happens in an individual's experience is practically not even the same organization. It's like the difference between the Pope and that nice nun you met one time.
Not that this makes it ok, they are still awful and I would never send a kid of mine to the Boy Scouts. It's just that, if you meet someone who was a Boy Scout, know that they learned almost nothing except maybe how to set up a tent.
@olivebee Crap, that's way better than mine. I love it!
A friend of mine is an Eagle Scout and is planning to renounce his Eagle status and send his badge back in as a result of this. It's a BFD for him, and really hard for him to do, but he doesn't want that accolade from an organization that doesn't give all boys the chance of doing what he did. I teared up reading about his decision, and I really admire him for it.
@Mariah Mantis@twitter Tell him to check out Scouts for Equality!! It's a group started by Zach Wahls, that hunky kid from Iowa with lesbian moms who was all over the internet a little while ago (he's also a friend of mine, and great). There is no need for him to send back his badge or renounce his Eagle status - he should be fighting back instead.
This may be a dumb question, but is that even allowed? Wouldn't that fall under discrimination? Or is discrimination [based on homosexuality] only illegal in certain states?
@olivebee The Supreme Court ruled it's fine because it's a private organization.
@olivebee it is, sadly. I think because the Boy Scouts are a private organization, they're allowed to discriminate. Discrimination against homosexuality is sadly only illegal in some places... :(
@olivebee per above, they are indeed a private org, a private org deeply entwined into public elementary school systems.
Are there alternative groups for boys that have a similar focus but are, you know, not controlled and run by horrible people?
@maybe partying will help Yes! The 4-H Club, and the Boys and Girls Club. And probably others. 4-H is great.
Der, 4-H! I really hope people consider getting their kids into organizations like these and forego Boy Scouts altogether.
@maybe partying will help
I'm curious about this, too. I've heard that Campfire USA is a pretty good (although not nearly as large as the BSA or GSA) co-ed scouting organization. But I've not really looked further into it.
Also, not so interested in religious-based scouting. I'm not super hot on the BSA's also being discriminatory against Atheists.
@maybe partying will help Pawnee Goddesses.
@Nicole Cliffe Aw shoot, that is really exciting about 4H! I'm going to make a tortured analogy so hang with me here.
BSA are acting like the religious right in general, by digging their heels in and dogwhistling a lot of homophobic shit and couching it in "American values" or whatever.
4H is like the actual people who live in more openminded states like Iowa, who are like, Just do your own thing and stop telling other people what to do.
I love 4H. Plus, their shows are the best. Animals, crafts, plants, insanely complicated models of things, etc. etc. etc.? Yes all the time.
@Nicole Cliffe 4-H is the bomb! I was a girl scout and I was jealous because the 4-H kids got to make so much cool, practical, useful stuff without the whole focus on cookies and crafting and what not. Even now that's my favorite thing to visit at the MN State Fair.
@Lucienne Wilderness Girls.
@maybe partying will help
Earth Scouts and SpiralScouts
You know, I think it's obviously offensive that they bar gay men and women from being leaders/den mothers, but, whatever, they can have their stupid clubhouse and not allow more than one Homer. But the KIDS? Seriously. DIAF.
Again, it's their right, but now I feel better about explaining (nicely, they're kids!) WHY I won't donate when they and their adult leaders start hassling me at the supermarket.
@Nicole Cliffe Is it their right?! It shouldn't be.
@Nicole Cliffe The thought that a bunch of adults spent two years deciding that some little boys are too gay to be boy scouts boils my blood.
@Nicole Cliffe It says no Homers. We're allowed to have one.
@Nicole Cliffe It says "No GayS", we're allowed to have one!
Is the American branch part of the global organisation? Is there a higher-up stance on this?
@questingbeast The World Organization seems to have no say besides that the branches for the most part follow the law of their resident country. So if homosexuality is legal...
My office mate is a long time Scout leader and he told me that here Scouts Canada is openly welcoming and encourages scouts to be involved in Pride events, etc.
Fuck you, Boy Scouts of America (the org, not the boys)
@iceberg idk, I wanted to fuck quite a few boy scouts of america when I was in high school (THEY WERE ALSO IN HIGH SCHOOL THIS IS NOT GROSS)
Okay, Pawnee Goddesses, prepare for an influx of members.
Hey ya'll! You can go leave comments on how you feel about this in the postings of the BSA's facebook page here. My favorite so far: Yeah, kayaking does sound like fun to me! TOO BAD I'M GAY AND CAN'T JOIN YOU!
@ironhoneybee done & done thanks!
@ironhoneybee OMG this lady:
"You have every right not to be a part of this private, Christian-based organization if you disagree with its charter. You have no right at all to force them to participate in something they find repugnant. Freedom isn't easy."
ETA: I don't even know why I am so surprised. I know these people exist, but so rarely am I faced with their bigoted hatred in real life that I instinctively react with shock.
@olivebee I want to leave her a witty riposte like "NO YOU'RE REPUGNANT"
@ironhoneybee "Congrats to the BSA for standing for what is right and true and honorable. Standing for what is right will always be tough but I applaud you BSA leaders! I, Brandon Hall, promise to do my best , to do my duty, to GOD and my country, to help other people and to obey the law of the pact."
Ok I swear I am done, now. I have work to do besides sitting here stewing in my anger.
@olivebee yeah I gotta calm down and get to work here also, but REPUGNANT lady has me in a fury. Why does being Christian seem to mean bigoted patriotism so often? Sometimes you gotta ask yourself WWJD you know?
@olivebee "force them to participate"?? I'm pretty sure a gay Scout wouldn't force his troop leader to also be gay.
@Lily Rowan Gay sex merit badge, duh
@olivebee Is there a Gay Sex badge or something? What does this lady find repugnant? >_<
@MsMisery @itmakesmewonder Jinxies, you guys!
@frigwiggin REPUGNANT MUCH?
@olivebee SHUT UP BRANDON
@olivebee Well the government can't, won't, and probably shouldn't force the KKK to allow black members (for instance). If that's the kind of organization BSA wants to be, good luck to them.
I was a Boy Scout, and my dad was an enthusiastic Scout leader, but I have no intention of involving myself or any of my future progeny in such an organization.
@olivebee It's only, like, their opinion that us gays are repugnant. Everyone's allowed to have an opinion! And you have to respect it, especially when they cannot and will not extend the same courtesy to you.
I mean, jeeze. You wouldn't want to be intolerant, would you? What are you, bigoted against moral people?
At first this news was shocking, but it doesn't anger me much because if an organization is bigoted and behind the times then it's better they do that openly, instead of being a closeted discriminator. Shadow hating is worse. I mean it's still shitty of them, but why would you want your kid to be part of their little self-righteous hate club? Now we all know were they stand and I see their membership taking a steep dip. I didn't even know they were run by Mormons before. I knew my skepticism as a cub scout was justified, with their hierarchy and badges and stupid pine-wood derby.
I have the same response. People and organizations want to be on the wrong side of history, fine. Now that they're being open about it, people who DO NOT want to be on the wrong side of history can vote with their feet.
@whizz_dumb What do I say to a friend who insists the activities and "fun" things Scouts do outweighs their discrimination here? He thinks non-heteros should just grin and bear it I guess. I can't even imagine.
@itmakesmewonder That is so sad. :-(
UGH DRIVES ME BATTY.
Just like people are all "Oh, the owners of Hobby Lobby and Chik-Fil-A donate a large portion of their profits to anti-gay, misogynist groups like Focus on the Family and Maranatha? But that's just the owners, and I really like the cheap craft stuff and also the wafflefries with Polynesian sauce, even if they ARE closed on Sunday, so I'll go anyway."
NO NO NO PEOPLE. I know the waffle fries with Polynesian sauce and also 2/$1 sewing patterns (haha, I don't actually pay attention to HL so I'm not entirely sure what their sales are like) are really hard to resist (especially the waffle fries, damn), but do you seriously want to support organizations like that, when there are better alternatives out there?!
Anyway, tell your friend that they can do 4-H or something. There are recommendations above now.
I already knew they were discriminatory, but to openly say "Yeah, we have thought about it, but still no"...
Well, you have the right to be a bigot, and I have the right to think you are an awful organization that I will never support.
@Awesomely Nonfunctional Yes. We have a common enemy. And now: the backlash.
This is really disappointing, but I will say that the 5 eagle scouts I know are ALL gay...sorry Boy Scouts.
@pettycoat Yeah, one of the only Boy Scouts I know was definitely bi pretty much the entire time he was there. But if they can't talk about it, everybody else can pretend they don't exist la la la lalalalalalala
Kinda like when "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" cost the military so many smart accomplished career soliders. Stupid, and they only hurt themselves.
@pettycoat FUN FACT! Once I looked up famous Eagle Scouts on wikipedia. It's, like, 50% astronauts and 50% serial killers.
@pettycoat David Lynch is an eagle scout!
"David Lynch, eagle scout" - David Lynch, the liner notes of the Twin Peaks box set
@Danzig! Sooo... Lynch is the 50% that are serial killers?
Jks, Twin Peaks is the greatest!
I was a Girl Scout for donkey's years (until our troop was disbanded because two girls were caught stealing while we were doing volunteer gift-wrapping at the mall, ugh), and then was in Venture Crew for a couple more years after that...as much as I enjoyed the latter, I regret being a part of Venture Crew, since I now know it's part of the BSA. :(
I think it is unfair to regret being a part of something you liked when you did nothing wrong. You didn't even know! Cut yourself some slack.
Also, venturing is awesome, so....yeah
I don't know how it is now, but one of my best friends was in the Boy Scouts for years, is gay, and said he got a lot of action at camp. Also, forget the Girlscouts, Campfire Girls is where it's at! Little known fact; Campfire Girls was actually the original counterpart to Boy Scouts. I was a member and so was my grandma...
Whenever I read about the Boy Scouts, all I can think of are those large groups of awkward, gangly, can't-look-you-in-the-eye boys fully outfitted in their scouting gear that you will inevitably run into during summer travels at the Minneapolis airport, and how effing weird it is when you see their troop leaders (aka adult men) dressed in the same gear. It's just so funny to me.
@I'm Right on Top of that, Rose
haha, the shorts on grown men! There with you on that!
I was just wondering if the Boy Scouts at everybody else's school were the furtive creepers, or just at mine when I was growing up.
I worked at boy scout camp for years. We had gay counselors, kids and the like. Also, individual venture crews (14-20 year old co-ed scouting that is a part of the bsa) write their own charters and can say what they want. Ours specifically said that we wouldn't discriminate based on gender, race, religion or sexual orientation. To be fair, we were the weird group of rag tag kids (most of us theatre kids) that wanted to play in the woods. We also have the prestige of having the first female crew president in the council and the only crew to not once ever award any kind of rank advancement.
I really dug all the things scouting gave me, but yeah, they can definitely be douchebags. All of the scouts and leaders I know are just waiting for the old white dudes who give a shit to die off.
Also, the first time I saw two men kiss and the first time I saw cocain was at camp. The organization at large is not winning this battle.
@Harriet Welch Sounds like the Catholic Church...
Giving the BSA all the dirty looks right now. Seriously horrible :(
I'm an Eagle Scout, and am in the middle of penning a letter to the national leadership condemning them for their backwardness and cruelty. However, comma...
The BSA is a little like the United States, in that there's a central governing authority, but there are also smaller units that are sort of doing their own thing. I'm a member of a very forward-looking, gay-friendly troop in northern New Jersey; we were all dismayed by the Dale decision, but it didn't really affect the way we did our business. No one was really taking marching orders from national headquarters. We still had gay leaders and gay members, and we still did our best to live by the Scout Oath and Scout Law.
I'm glad that people are pissed off about this; I am too! And I can't fault anyone for condemning the organization from top to bottom; your condemnation is justified. But there's still a great deal of good the BSA does, especially (and at this point, probably exclusively) at the local level. I'm sticking around, because I think we need more Scouts willing to tell the national leadership that they're awful stewards of a tremendous legacy, not less.
Thanks for that! It's important that people kind of remember that every thirteen year old that earns his canoeing merit badge isn't a hateful bigot. Let's PLEASE remember that this is the fault of the upper echelon of leadership and not of individual scouts, or even troops. There has been a HUGE backlash against this "reaffirmation" of docuhebaggery from scouts that are awesome. Like you!!
One of my favourite people in the world is an Eagle Scout, and he feels very similarly. Thank you for fighting the good fight from within.
@Harriet Welch I think understanding the structure of the organization is important. If you find a gay-friendly troop, I think you should absolutely support them and let your sons join. Supporting an individual troop doesn't mean you're supporting the policies of the national headquarters. Troops and local councils do their own fundraising. Even the nationwide popcorn sale (the BSA equivalent to Girl Scout cookies) benefits individual troops and scouts; to my knowledge, none of that money goes to the national organization.
Which I think makes it doubly important for the critique to come from within, since there's not a whole lot of "starve the beast" protests that don't also end up harming the positive experience of individual scouts.
@boyofdestiny After the amount of explanation I did yesterday about the BSA's organizational structure, that's a very fair point.
Re popcorn sales, you are correct about money not going to National. Where it does go, roughly speaking:
- 30% is the base cost to the manufacturer
- 35% goes to the unit to use as they see fit (unit budget for every level; individual Scout accounts in Boy Scout troops or Venture Crews)
- 25% goes to the council, where it is mostly used to support programming and the council's camps
- 5% goes to individual Scout incentives (the year's "popcorn sales" patch, prizes earned at various sales levels)
- 5% is used for promotional materials.
$15 per year, per scout is paid to the BSA. That includes insurance though that covers scouts during approved outings and activities. It also helps pay for training such as National Camping School. NCS trains camp leadership so that kids are safe. It also provides Aquatics directors with materials to train BSA lifeguards within troops at little to no cost to them. This means that troops that don't have the money to go to a camp for training can still go on water outings with a troop lifeguard. Most of the money that goes to the organization from dues goes directly back to the scouts. The organization on a council and national level rely on donations to pay people like Custodians, year round staff and jerk faces who make shit like this up.
So, in order to hit them where it hurts, it would mean withdrawing financial support NOT simply pulling a scout out of the organization. (obviously this would be a statement of protest and an expression of value, it just wouldn't hurt them financially)
So, I am working on my letter too. As a COPE and climbing director, Aquatics Instructor, founding crew member, former venture crew president and current Crew grown-up I am sure it won't mean much (since I among an Eagle Scout)
Also, can I have a proud mama bear moment? The crew I adult for is the one I started and has the charter note mentioned in my comment. I have been getting tons of emails from current and former members expressing outrage and demanding we all write letters. It makes me happy that my kiddos are so pissed!
@boyofdestiny My brother is an Eagle Scout -- I'm in the process of texting him about this so he can write a similar letter. I'm glad there are guys like you making waves for basic decency.
@Nicole Cliffe @boyofdestiny
1) my pater is scoutmastering at camp right now.
2) mater texted him saying it was too bad gay kids couldn't benefit from the programming.
3) Eagle Scout brother has written Very Disappointed Letter to BSA national council. He also ended a friendship with another scout a long time ago in HS by shoving him up against the bleachers at a basketball game and threatening to beat the shit out of him if he didn't turn off the homophobic comments.
3a) told mater this today. She said "good for him." (!!!!!!!!!)
4) Older brother refused to donate something to scouting because he is gay. Pater said "good for you, and for explaining to the kid why."
5) Our local boy scout council (one of the largest in the country) has a policy of inclusivity. Eagle scout and parent quoted in paper as saying that the council is practicing the core BSA value of "bravery." Pater forwarded article. Mater told him to Be Stern at the national council.
6) And suggested other organizations could use pater's talents instead.
7) Gay older brother texted mater and pater and suggested that the scouts in the local council should start working on their Civil Disobedience Merit Badges. Mater cackled.
8) National council needs to get its shit together. Really.
Also. I am so, so disgusted that these adults are at all interested in the sexuality of kids in scouting. It's none of their goddamned business, and to reject children for something they aren't even really legally fully enfranchised in yet BECAUSE THEY ARE NOT LEGAL ADULTS AND ARE UNDER THE AGE OF CONSENT is fucked. up. It's so gross.
I mean, the no gay leaders thing is also really gross. But somehow it's just extra repulsive that grown people feel they should be weighing in in any way whatsoever on the sexuality of children who are not their children. Private in the family my gently exfoliated ass.
@pistolpackinmama. Yay for your awesome family! It is sad that national is being so crappy and are apparently on their way to completely losing your awesome family's support.
Amen to practicing bravery.
Also to everything else in your comment. Love love love.
HOW TO SALUTE YOUR (MALE) SCOUTS
Boy Scout: 3-fingered salute.
Cub Scout: 2-fingered salute.
Leadership: 1-fingered salute.
@atipofthehat I wish I had more thumbs! (To like this comment. And to point them downward at the national leadership!)
@atipofthehat <3 So much thumbs up.
@atipofthehat Also, it's time for scouts to start working on their Civil Disobedience Merit Badge, yo.
I blame Scouting parents. They could fight this if they wanted to, but as long as it's not their kid being discriminated against, it's fine, I guess?
George Takei says, "My sources, including ones close to the leadership at the BSA, inform me that this “vote” actually took place in 2010 and that the “announcement” is merely recycled news." http://www.allegiancemusical.com/blog-entry/keep-myself-physically-strong-mentally-awake-and-morally-straight
So I'm still involved in BSA because if we let the juiceboxes run the organization, it'll never get better. But to the point: I ran an event a few years ago and, though I had nothing to do with the events of this letter, I cried (sorry for the length)(also, redacted info to protect various identities):
This past weekend you held [event] at [place]. My son attended this event. Being that it was his first [event] and that he is not the most social person you will meet, he did not know many people there. But when he returned home he had a smile on his face that I had not seen in years and it wasn’t that he was happy to return home; because he wished that he could have stayed longer. Normally when I ask him what he did on a camp out he tells me the same thing "Nothing". But this time he in great detail almost as if it was a film told me all of the things he did. I cannot remember the last time I heard him say "I made so many friends". It almost brought tears to my eyes as I heard about how much fun he and his new friends had. Specifically two of his new friends had helped him through this camp out....Both of the scouts were on staff. One of which he was working with in the kitchen who hung out with him for the entire weekend. He was in [Scouting suborganization] like my son and he even got my son one of [markers of suborganization]. The other was an African American in [other suborganization] who stated up a game of extreme doge ball and invited my son and this other staff member to play.... He told me that he went to classes with both of them and they just had a blast the way boy scouts should.
My son is an open homosexual, thus making very hard especially in an organization of boys to make such good friends. I was just about ready to pull [son] out of scouts all together because of all of the ridicule and unscoutlike behavior towards him, but this past event has been a true awakening to [son] and me. It just shows that there are still some good people in the world. I thought I would regret sending him to this event as I sadly have so many times before. Too many times has Brandon returned home in tears.
I just wanted to thank you; the scouts and your entire organization for helping my son take a break and just be a normal kid. I cannot speak so much for the future, but I do believe that your scouts have had a major impact on his life and on his scouting career. I wish I had the names of these scouts, but if it is at all possible, please find some way of thanking these scouts for me. My Family would really appreciate it.
It gave me the willies reading this again. This is why I'm still a Scouter.
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