by D'Anne Witkowski -
SGN Contributing Writer
Look, I'm no Boy Scout - and I never have been. I'm not a boy, for one. I'm also an 'avowed homosexual,' which means the Boy Scouts don't like me as a matter of official policy.
Now, this has not had a huge impact on me personally. My younger brother was in the Cub Scouts (I don't know if he ever made it to Boy Scout or not - sorry, bro) but he's not Gay, so that wasn't an issue that ever came up.
But now I have a son of my own and I worry that one day he'll want to be in the Boy Scouts, and I'll have to find a very tactful way of saying, 'Hell no, buddy. The Boy Scouts hate your moms.'
CHANGE FROM WITHIN?
Granted, I could vow to change the organization from the inside, Log Cabin Republican-style. In fact, I had a conversation with a woman who, when I voiced my fear that my son would one day want to be a Boy Scout, advocated this very thing. She said that's what she would do in my situation because she is kind of a rebel. She is also Jewish and, though I didn't say this at the time, I doubt that she would be signing her kids up for a group that included blatant anti-Semitism in their official policies. I mean, there has to be a point where you say, 'You know what? No. I will not be supporting a group that denigrates my family and practices shameless discrimination. Fuck them to the max.'
According to SFGate.com, the 'Boy Scouts of America's ban on membership for Gays [was] officially recognized in 1991, upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2002, and strongly reiterated by the organization in a July ruling.' In other words, this is a firmly entrenched policy that isn't going to just magically go away.
While my potential conflict is hypothetical at this point, this anti-Gay policy does detrimentally impact actual kids for whom being in this organization means an awful lot. Kids who do all of the work and have been 'trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent' in accordance with the Scout Law, and yet have it all come crashing down at the end of their Scouting career just because they're Gay.
THE RYAN ANDRESEN CASE
That's what happened to Ryan Andresen, an 18-year-old in California who was supposed to receive the organization's prized Eagle Scout ranking, but didn't. Because Andresen is Gay. Not because he didn't fulfill the requirements. Not because he wasn't 'helpful' or 'friendly' or 'brave' enough. But because he likes guys.
According to the Huffington Post, Andresen's own local Scoutmaster, someone who apparently knew he was Gay, was the first to block him from achieving Eagle status. An appeal board looked at Andresen's case and unanimously agreed that the kid should get the award.
'The Board reviewed all of Ryan's scouting history, his advancement records, his Eagle project, and his spiritual beliefs, and we are convinced that Ryan has more than demonstrated that he deserves the award,' district advancement chair Bonnie Hazarabedian said in a statement.
But when that appeal was submitted, the Boy Scouts of America said, 'Take a hike, homo.'
Andresen is not the first kid the Scouts have hurt, and he won't be the last. While the Boy Scouts claim their mission is to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes, what we're really talking about is an organization that discriminates against Gay kids. Let's not forget that.
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