Re: Sexual Preference and Scouting
James Brown (aa473@CLEVELAND.FREENET.EDU)
Wed, 18 Sep 1991 00:20:28 -0400
My last effort at this really was written and rewritten several
times but still came out less clearly then I intended. Let me
try once again.
In my first post I referred to the historical rejection of
homosexuality as abnormal. After reading many responses and a
rather sleepless night rethinking this statement and my position
in general I wish to in part retract and in part modify that
terminology. It would have been more accurate to say that
historically homosexual activity has been viewed as inappropriate
behavior. The degree of disfavor has ranging from it being an
extreme taboo to if you must do it at least don't flaunt it. As
a very broad generality, and therefore prone to inaccuracy when
applied to a specific case, the degree of community disapproval
was based on how severly the community was impacted by it. For
example in social groups where having as many young as possible
was viewed as necessary to group survival the taboo would have
been stronger then in more firmly established social groups.
Again based on reading the responses generated I realize I stated
my position very poorly on the matter of homosexual tendencies
and when they constitute a "mental illness". Let me try again.
Each individual has many tendencies some as benign as left or
right handedness others as potentially anti-social as the desire
to engage in violence toward individuals or groups. One of these
tendencies is the attraction to and the desire to engage in
activities with same sex members of our social group.
How these tendencies are expressed forms the basis for both
their acceptance or rejection by ones social group and for how the
group defines, among other things, mental illness. Two hopefully
clear examples: Most, if not all, of us on this list are very
proud of the trip Mike Walton and his brothers-in-arms took
earlier this year and their activities upon their arrival. I
think I can safely say we are all repelled by the activities of
Jeffry Dahmer and would agree he exhibited severe mental illness.
As to the tendency to same sex attraction and the desire to
engage in activities with same sex members of one social group;
this is basis for one of the founding principles and strengths of
Scouting. (I realize I just opened the other can of worms but
lets let it slide this time. OK :-) ) The question/problem is
not does this tendency occur but what is the appropriate
(normal ?) response to it.
In order to make my next point lets clear away some underbrush
(at least then the flames wont start a secondary fire :-) ). It
has been a favorite tactic of the gay rights movement to claim
their cause is equivalent to racial and sex based civil rights
and that anyone who opposes their position is a Racist, Sexist,
I respectfully reject that position, at least as it has been
implied to my case. I am neither a racist nor a sexist.
(Background and anecdotal proof skipped in interest of brevity,
available on request. Or as one of many Eagle Scouts on this
list please accept my word of honor as sufficient proof.)
Contrary to the impression I apparently have given in my first
post I am also not anti-individuals with unusually strong
tendencies toward homosexuality (a homophile?). However I am in
strong disagreement with those who claim that expressing
homosexual tendencies through pseudo-sexual acts is appropriate
(normal?) behavior or that same sex "marriages" (living together
primarily to engage in homosexual acts) should have the same
legal/social acceptance as heterosexual marriage. I reject this
claim on the same grounds that I reject multi-partner hetero
sexual activities, driving a motor vehicle while under the
influence of mind or nero-muscular function altering drugs, or
performing gratuitous violent acts. All are detrimental to the
both the individual's and the common good.
If anyone is still reading this I guess I have rambled long
enough to try to articulate my position. I feel it is not
appropriate to have individuals in youth organization leadership
positions who endorse either by words or example any of the above
How one identifies and deals with ones position on the broad
hetero/homosexual spectrum of tendencies is a personal matter.
The example an individual in a leadership position in a youth
organization gives to those entrusted to his/her care is very
much a concern of the social group.
For example it is appropriate to bring a friend to a court of
honor. It is not appropriate to introduce this person as my
(hetero or homo) sexual companion with whom I an defying the
accept norms of your social group. Just to complete the example
it would not be appropriate to bring a friend and introduce him
or her as your favorite companion when your out mugging old
ladies for their pocket change or to show up with or without a
I hope the above more clearly states my position and the reasons
for it then my first post. I will admit that position has been
refined and to some extent altered by many of the thoughtful
responses I read and pondered in the past 24 hours. For those
who posted them either to the board or sent them directly to me
via private e-mail thank you for your guidance.
And finally to Mike. Your private e-mail message was much better
put IMHO and had a much stronger influence on refining my
position then your public response. Based on the contents of the
former I want to offer a public apology for what you felt was a
gratuitous insult. This was not my intention but I sorrowfully
realize it was the result. I am deeply and truly sorry for it.
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City