Open Letter to the Boy Scouts of America

I just heard you were considering lifting the ban on keeping gay leaders and boys out of Boy Scouts.  Congratulations.  Admitting there is a problem is the first step.  The second is healing.

Just tp assure you that I know who you are, I was a Girl Scout for eight years.  I worked in the organization for two.  My brothers were both Boy Scouts.  My parents were very involved in their troop.  My baby brother made Eagle Scout.  My eldest son is working on his Wolf Badge.  My middle son wants to join as soon as he’s old enough.  I’m sure my third son will follow his brothers’ footsteps.  So I have a vested stake in your organization.  I believe in a lot of things you do.  Except the bigotry.  I think it is my responsibility to discuss sexual orientation and religious beliefs with my children, and those beliefs and personal understanding has nothing to do with you.

Personally, I think you’re a little confused.  I’m sure when you came up with the ban you thought you were protecting boys.  You were keeping them from being indoctrinated into the gay lifestyle.  I don’t know about you.  But there was never an older boy who took me aside and indoctrinated me into the heterosexual lifestyle.  I assure you my father would have taken care of that boy.  Nor did I chose the heterosexual lifestyle.  It is just part of who I am. 

Now that we established that none of us “chose” to be the sexual lifestyles we are, we can discuss what else you were trying to protect those boys from.  You were trying to protect them from sexual predators.  You were afraid that some gay older boy of 17 will make sexual advances on some young, impressionable boy of 14.  Let’s work on that scenario.  What if it was some straight older boy of 17 who decides to make sexual advances on some young, impressionable little sister of another scout on a camping trip?  What would you do?  How would you feel?  If you’re not outraged and disgusted, then we have a much bigger problem here.  The correct answer is you deal with the boy who is making unwanted advances with strict discipline and a call to the police.  What if it was a young leader of 22 making sexual advances of a sixteen-year-old sister of another scout?  Again, the feeling should be disgust and outrage, and the action should be a strict disciplinary action and a call to the police..  What if a female adult leader or a mother makes sexual contact with one of the boys?  Again the feeling should be disgust and outrage, and the action should be strict disciplinary action and a call to the police.  Sexual predators are about taking advantage of their authority, their power, to thrust themselves on someone weaker.  It’s not about gay or straight.  It’s about power.  If you ban gays, you let the monsters who claim heterosexuality just waltz in.  If you  need an example, Jerry Sandusky.

There is your practical answer for the conservatives.  The new policy should be about protecting boys from predators.  “There should be no inappropriate touching, sexual advances, or relationships.”  Have your lawyers work it out.

But if we want to talk about the emotional impact, let’s think of the Boy Scout, who has just come to terms he is gay.  This boy must feel very alone and scared and worried.  What will his parents think?  What will his family think?  What will his friends think?  What about his leader and troop?  You are telling him to lie if he wants to stay in the Boy Scouts.  You’re telling him not to be morally straight, not to be honest with himself or others.  You’re asking him to go against his oath that you have made him swear at every Boy Scout function.  You’re telling him not to be brave, like it says in your laws.

What do you teach all the other boys in your organization?  They shouldn’t be loyal to their gay friends.  They shouldn’t be kind, friendly, or courteous to gay people.  They shouldn’t be brave, helpful, or trustworthy towards gay people.  That’s the problem with bigotry, it undermines all the good in the world.

So Boy Scouts of America, are you going to live up to your oath and law?

3 Responses to “Open Letter to the Boy Scouts of America”

  1. Court Says:

    I think the whole world needs to read this.

  2. unicorn Says:

    It’s not just the preservation of the heterosexuality privilege, it’s also about boys being protected from how our patriarchal society treats girls and women… as sexual objects to be abused, as servants, as ‘less than’ boys and men. Check out the crap this week about how gays don’t belong in NFL locker rooms… no ‘straight’ dude wants to be seen as a phuckhole by a gay dude. I mean, really… women are the phuckholes! Places people, get in your places!

    I hope the Boy Scouts learn from Sandusky, Catholic Church, the NFL, and on and on and on. But I hope they learn from the women in their lives rather than from the mistakes, sickness, and bigotry of men. I hope it’s not a PR campaign. Let’s start with why people are ‘less than’ … let’s start the dialogue with privilege.


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