Friday, Sep 21, 2018
 
search SGN
SERVING SEATTLE AND THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST FOR 37 YEARS!

click to visit advertiser's website


Javascript DHTML Drop Down Menu Powered by dhtml-menu-builder.com

Last Weeks Edition
   
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website




 
 

 

 

[Valid RSS]

click to go to advertisers website
to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, April 26, 2013 - Volume 41 Issue 17
Straightening up at the BSA - It's time for the Scouts to read their own handbook
Section One
ALL STORIES
  next story
Straightening up at the BSA - It's time for the Scouts to read their own handbook

by Abby Dees - SGN Contributing Writer

Sometime in the 1920s my grandfather became the youngest Boy Scout of his day ever to attain the top rank of Eagle Scout. When he died he was as proud of that as he was of piloting ships into Tokyo Bay at the end of World War II. He was a classic Scout, too. The epitome of honor and resourcefulness, he whistled while he worked and did everything he could think of to make life better for the people around him.

I never talked about the Gay Scouting ban with my grandfather. Maybe I didn't give the 97-year-old guy enough credit, but I thought that conversation would be too awkward. I'd have to explain things that we just didn't talk about together, like the difference between plain old sex and sexual orientation. And I worried he'd think I was criticizing him personally, so I cut us both some slack. You get to do that with family sometimes.

I'm not cutting the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) any slack now, though. They have announced a proposed policy change: The BSA might admit Gay Scouts - but definitely not Gay leaders.

FAULTY PREMISE
The stated basis for the ban has always been that homosexuality violates the Scouts' oath to be 'morally straight.' Here's what they mean by that: '[Y]our relationships with others should be honest and open. You should respect and defend the rights of all people. Be clean in your speech and actions, and remain faithful in your religious beliefs.' (This is from the Boy Scout Oath and Law.)

In other words, the Scouts believe that being Gay is inconsistent with these characteristics. I'm not sure if it's the honest and open part or the faith part, or whatever. I'm not privy to the bizarre conversation that must repeatedly transpire among BSA leadership every time they review and reaffirm the ban, but it's clear to me that the new policy proposal in no way seeks to challenge the idea that Gay people, by definition, cannot be 'morally straight.'

But wait, there's more! They've also stated, 'We allow youth to live as children and enjoy Scouting and its diversity without immersing them in the politics of the day ... The Boy Scouts of America has always reflected the expectations that Scouting families have had for the organization. We do not believe that homosexuals provide a role model consistent with these expectations.'

Nonetheless, the BSA may feel comfortable now allowing Gay boys to join their ranks even though they have officially labeled Gays unworthy of admiration. This is no compromise, but a twisted update on 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell,' and children will pay the price for adult cowardice. I can't think of a worse way of virtually dunking kids into 'the politics of the day' than forcing them to parse this hypocrisy.

AVOIDING GAY ROLE MODELS
Imagine what this might feel like to a Gay Scout. He's allowed to join, presumably because he can't help himself, poor thing. But the BSA can still provide a bulwark that keeps other, still-unsullied straight boys from looking up to a Gay Scout leader and getting ideas. Our Scout would learn that people like him, once they grow up, can't be trusted to behave. What a thing to look forward to.

Where in this is the idea of strength and honesty that is all over the Boy Scout Handbook? I get that the BSA is a private organization and free to set its policy, but that doesn't stop me from calling them out for causing harm to young people. With the mission of building character and honesty in our next generation of men, they are instead teaching that self-respect and respect for others is too fragile to withstand human difference and variety. (Interestingly, some individual chapters flout the ignorant directives from above and are thriving.)

This isn't my grandfather's Boy Scouts. He would have struggled to understand what it meant to be Gay and probably gotten it wrong in parts, but he would have measured the man, or the boy, by his actions. As a good Scout, he certainly wouldn't have singled anyone out based on archaic stereotypes. BSA, check your own traditions and try again.

Abby Dees is a civil rights attorney-turned-author who has been in the LGBT rights trenches for 25+ years. She can be reached through her website, www.queerquestionsstraighttalk.com.

Tell a friend:

Share on Facebook  Share on Facebook

Post to MySpace!Share on MySpace!

    Share on Delicious

Share on StumbleUpon!

ENDA reintroduced in Congress - Sponsors hope for vote this year on long-delayed bill
------------------------------
End of an era, goodbye - The Grill on Broadway closes this weekend
------------------------------
Feds terminate HIV vaccine study - HVTN 505 judged ineffective after four-year trial, Seattle project affected
------------------------------
Straightening up at the BSA - It's time for the Scouts to read their own handbook
------------------------------
Let's hear it for our boy! SGN's Nate Gowdy wins international photo prize
------------------------------
Positive action - POZSeattle celebrates its 14th anniversary May 8 at Cuff
------------------------------
CWA endorses Trans-inclusive health care
------------------------------
A foundation for success - Atomic Cosmetics makes makeup a healthy choice for your skin
------------------------------
Marriage equality juggernaut - Rhode Island bill passes; Delaware, Nevada bills advance
------------------------------
Equal treatment is good for employers/employees
------------------------------
Philadelphia passes sweeping LGBT equality bill
------------------------------
PARIS - Right-wing riots as marriage law is finalized
------------------------------
Ghana seizes millions of defective condoms
------------------------------
Harlem Hospital launches Truvada PrEP study
------------------------------
Sex, guns, and hypocrisy - If there's a way to blame Gays for the Boston bombing, Tony Perkins will find it
------------------------------
Cocktail Chatter: The joy of rimming
------------------------------
BREAKING NEWS
------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

click to visit advertiser's website

click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
Seattle Gay Blog post your own information on
the Seattle Gay Blog
 

gay news feeds gay news readers gay rss gay
http://sgn.org/rss.xml | what is RSS? | Add to Google use Google to set up your RSS feed
SGN Calendar For Mobile Phones http://sgn.org/rssCalendarMobile.xml
SGN Calendar http://sgn.org/rssCalendar.xml

Seattle Gay News - SGN
1605 12 Ave., Ste. 31
Seattle, WA 98122

Phone 206-324-4297
Fax 206-322-7188

email: sgn2@sgn.org
website suggestions: web@sgn.org

copyright Seattle Gay News - DigitalTeamWorks 2012

USA Gay News American News American Gay News USA American Gay News United States American Lesbian News USA American Lesbian News United States USA News
Pacific Northwest News in Seattle News in Washington State News