- First things first, I have a vagina. I wasn’t and won’t ever be a Boy Scout or a Trail Life member. I do have a son, and there may come a day when he desires to join a gender-specific group.
- Second things second, I’m cisgender and heterosexual. I may have no right to discuss about what I am about to discuss, other than blatant hate pisses me right the fuck off.
- Third things third, these hot-button issues don’t scare me like they used to because I am now fully aware of the power I hold over the comments. I can delete any that include any kind of hate speech – and I will, without hesitation.
So, on to today’s discussion. Gay youths.
Boys now have two groups to choose from should they desire to be included in a character-, skill-, friendship-building organization: Boy Scouts of America and Trail Life USA.
- Boy Scouts, after years of the polar opposite, have decided that “no youth may be denied membership in the Boy Scouts of America on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone. … The BSA, however, will maintain its ban on gay adult leaders.”
- Trail Life, newly formed, “will accept boys who are experiencing same-sex attractions or gender confusion… however, it will not admit youth who are open or avowed about their homosexuality, and it will not admit boys who are not ‘biologically male’ or boys who wish to dress and act like girls.”
On the Boy Scouts:
Boy Scouts will continue their ban on adult gay members. I’m miffed by this. Should only the heterosexual boys have role models? I’m not saying a heterosexual adult can’t be a good role model to a homosexual child, they can be and vice versa, but there are unique battles these gay boys are going to be fighting in their life, and these are battles the straight male leaders haven’t, aren’t, and won’t be fighting.
Give both groups, heterosexual and homosexual, someone who has walked a mile in the shoes these boys will be wearing now and in the future.
On Trail Life:
Trail Life is ok with boys who are confused, but none who are secure. I wonder if there is an underlying agenda to un-gay potentially gay boys, turning them against themselves, forcing them to question themselves as wrong, unacceptable. I wonder this because the chairman of the board for Trail Life USA is also a founding member of On My Honor, a group openly opposed to the gay-inclusion announcement from Boy Scouts of America (side note, On My Honor redirects automatically to Trail Life USA).
Unlike American Heritage Girls, founded to be for heterosexual girls only, no gays and no may be gays allowed, as a backlash to the Girls Scouts inclusionary practice, Trail Life isn’t purporting to be as anti-gay as they potentially may be. They are including and excluding in the same breath.
And though they will accept “confused” boys, should those boys come wearing a dress, they will not be included, nor will any boys with a vagina be included. Their acceptance only goes so far.
In conclusion (in my first draft I typo-ed “in conclusion” to be “inclusion”)
The problem with these exclusionary conditions within these policies is the same problem with every social policy based on fear and ignorance, many of which have been revoked. It’s based on fear and ignorance, and the out-right refusal to understand that human differences are simply differences not dangers.
The Boy Scouts of America are on the right track. They have a long way to go, and much of their track is still under construction, but it’s there and now have to opportunity to lead the way for the future of no-questions-asked acceptance of all people as people regardless of religion, race, national origin, socioeconomic status, or sexual orientation.
Trail Life, they’re pretending, and I think it’s dangerous. I think it’s disguised hate.
And to answer your question, why am I not discussing the Girl Scouts of the USA? Girl Scouts doesn’t exclude anyone except based on gender, and even that has been waived subjectively, such as in the case of transgender member Bobby Montoya.
- The ‘Other’ Boy Scouts, NPR, 9 September 2013
- Trail Life USA launches a Boy Scout alternative, CNN, 9 September 2013
- Boy Scouts to allow gay youths to join, CNN, 23 May 2013
- Boy Scouts: We’re keeping policy banning gays, MSNBC, 17 July 2012
*featured image, “Scout Law”, by Matt Rider, Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)