Re: Homosexual Scouting
(no name) ((no email))
Tue, 28 May 1991 19:45:00 EDT
I am forced to come to grips with a lot of things which have been said
(yelled is the more approviate term)at others about this subject. I wisht
to add my 3.5 cents in this, not as another "yeller" but rather as a
'representative' of sorts for the program I dearly love and have a great
respect for, even if the feelings is not mutual all of the time.
I have been reading David's comments, and balancing them against what
seems to be the prevailing sentiment on this topic...that is, The BSA was
right in exerting its ideas and the court system upheld it as so: a private
organization can exclude anyone for whatever reason it feels like doing so
by....without a court case or some law review, just for the shear "hell of it".
I believe that a gay/lesbian has no place in Scouting as a primary leader.
A primary leader, according to the Mormon Church, is a "cubmaster, denleader
scoutmaster, assistant scoutmaster, blazer (something like Varsity)leader,
advisor or associate advisor". Note that I did NOT exclude homosexauls from
Scouting completely, and there is a valid reason why.
when the scouting program was starting, and the number of black children wanted
to become Scouts (predomately in the white-led South), they were discouraged
and told "not to even think about joining" scouting. Many joined anyway, with
white leader's blessings and the understanding that all it took was ONE person
to "make a stink" and they would have to leave. Therefore, black scouts took
a low profile and that is the reason why Nathathial Gibbs, reputed to be the
nation's first black Eagle Scout, did not do so until 1938.
I would say that we probably have a lot of gay scouters in our units. Many of th
them do not have the courage to openly stand out and say so..and do you blame
them?? For them, Scouting is that thing...that desire that black children saw
many years ago. As long as you "don't make a stink", you'll be okay.
The only thing is, now, is that many of us are homophobic. We think that gay
men (and there are some) will be after our children. We place them in Scouting
to get "adult male association" as part of the benefit package. We did not
put them in Scouting to be accosted or to become the pawns in a life of a man
or woman that cannot control their sexual urges. Those men and women need to
find another hobby or vocation....Scouting don't need you and I don'y need you
as a role model for my children.
However, we DO need gay and lesbian role models for our children. Just like we
need black and Hispanic role models and role models among our impaired (read tha
disabled) Scouters. Not as "the exception to the rule" but rather as part of the
reason why Scouting works for everyone.
The operative questions are these:
By restricting they ability to become primary leaders, are we discrimating
against gay/lesbians? No, we have done similar things to female Scouters
(even gave them a separate Council-level award called the Silver Fawn to earn
because "only men should earn the Silver Beaver". (sounds silly, huh? how abnout
presenting the Silver Gazelle to a homosexual because "only men should earn t
Silver Beaver" (the Silver Gazelle, now Silver Antelope was originally only to
be presented to black Scouters because "only white Scouters should be entitled
to the Silver Beaver") my, have times changed. )
How would this affect the promotion of Scouting as a youth-serving agency?
The same way that it is affected now. Probably more Scouts and Scouters will l
leave the program because of suc a policy change, but more will join because
they will see that Scouting is trying to do SOMETHING about the situation and
have the courage to come forward and face it head on (Scouting again, going
back to its past, recognized the fact that girls wanted to be with boys in
high school and in doing so, opened Exploring to both male and females; Scouting
officially earsed the "color line (even though I still say that its there, just
invisiable)" in 1953 with the ******* Procalmation(I forgot ..oh, the Schuck
Proclamation, in which national chielf scout executive art schuck stated
that 'negroes can fully participate in the programs of the Boy Scouts of America
as equals, to include the wearing of the uniform and the participation of cam
with the white fellows". ) We still ahve a problem in many areas of the country
with parents refusing to put their son or daughter in Scouting because of
what they read or heard...."scouting has nothing but pre-verts in it"
"I would not allow my son to go on a overnight campout with some man Odon
I don't even know", etc...
How would Homosexual Scouters meet this new opportunity?? For many, I may be
wrong but all they want to do is to lead the same kind of "normal" life that
can be lead for any person anywhere nowdays. Some would treat this as a "slap
in the face" while the majority would at least appreciate the fact that Scouting
is not excluding them completely...just have reservations about their ability
to "be with kids" (gosh, isn't that what we said about females??).
and the biggie:
HOW WOULD WE (THE BSA) EDUCATE OUR YOUTR
H ABOUT HOMOSEXUALITY AND WHAT WE
WILL WE SAY IN OUR LITERTURE ABOUT IT?
The answer may sound easy but it is the same thing we did with other issues:
Confront it head on. In many religions, homosexaulity is a sin. In others,
the right of a person to choose his or her mate is a personal choice between
him and his or her Maker. Our society is slowing accepting the fact that
there are over a million of our Americans whom call themselves " gay or lesbian"
in the same manner that millions call themselves "American Indian" or "Irish-
Americans". It is a different dangerous lifestyle and mode of living that in
some areas of our nation, still is treated with sneers and name-calling if
not worse. "A Scout is a friend to all". Nobody is advocating that you must
accept all part of a homosexaul's lifestyle or sexaul orientation. We in Scoutin
g feel that you must try and understand the positive contributions of many
that have given us another dimension of life in our nation. You cannot "catch"
gayness from a gay or lesbian like you can a cold or the flu. There are other
diseases that you can get from improper sexual behavior, whether you are gay
or "straght". Remember that as Americans, Scouts have a special obligation
to be of service to all segments of our communities. Also remember that as
a human being, you have the right to be protected from other human beings.
Nobody can "turn you into a "gay person". There are still many unanswered
questions about this matter that perhaps you will find the answers for all of us
. By openly asking others you trust, like your Scoutmaster, parents or member
a clergy, you can find out what they think. Part of Scouting, is however,
allowing YOU to think for yourself.
(just to set the record...nope, I am not gay. I have had friedns in college
whom asked me about scouting just like it is was something that they can only
hear about and not participate in. By not using all segements of our
community to answer community's needs, we are cheating all of us. Yes, I do
wince whenever I hear something about AIDS on TV or when I am in the company
of a man whom " appears" to be on the feminiene side. But having been in
the militar for eleven years and on a military base for twenty-eight years,
you really cannot tell the "gay" people from the
"straight" people without a scorecard.
and yes, I would palce my child in the company of a gay or lesbian but nope,
I would not feel confortable with a Gay or Lesbian Scoutmaster. I realize that
that may sound a little "out of whack" considering what I said
earlier, but that is the way I feel. I could work with a gay commissioner,
District Chairman, or even DE...but I would be unconfable with a gay Scoutmaster
. Oh yeah..I am not a Mormon, either. I use the Mormon's terminalogoy because
it is so much clearer than the standard BSA stuff....)
SEVERAL YEARS ago, I spoke at a rotary club dinner. I later went to a dinner
with an attractive young female woman. We talked about "regular things" then
the topic turned to Scouting.
"your eyes light up so deeply when you talk about scouts. You really feel tha
that strong about it all"? she said.
I repled "yep. I guess that they would have to bury me in my scout uniform
I contined to talk about it all...and then she interrupted me.
"I would love to do some of those things you talked about. Where do I sign up
I told her that Scouting would only take her if she worked with the youngest
kids. They don't go on hike or camps. They do crafts and sign songs.
I glanced up from my empty cup of coffee to look at her. Her tears were
mixed with the smeared mascara and the glasses she wore also shared the
same mixture. I started to hand her a napkin, but then she got up and announced
to everyone in the resturant, pointing at me:
"I can bear his children (I blushed). I can raise them and send them off to
school. I can teach them about lfe and love and happiness. But only HE can
teach them Scouting! The hell with you and Scouting!"
She ran out of the resturant, leaving me stranded since it was she that drove
and picked the place. It didn't matter, because I felt lower than the dirt on
Somehow, I, meaning Scouting, let this woman down. What potential we have lost
in our refusal? What new things she amy have brought to the program that we
males could NEVER have thought of before??
and she would fit a Sout uniform nicely too.
That is how I met my wife.
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City