I Was Protesting The Boy Scouts Before It Was Cool

Since the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) recently removed a homosexual woman as leader of her children’s troop, the organization’s homophobia has once again become news. Obviously, this isn’t the first time, because I never let my sons be Boy Scouts just for that reason!

For me, I’ve always felt that as the mother of black children I have a special responsibility to ensure no one around me is treated with any kind of -ism: racism, sexism, genderism, etc. Plus, I really think it’s wrong that people are treated differently because of things they can’t change: like the color of their skin, their sexual identification, the size of their bodies and body parts, etc.

Back in 2000 when the boys were in second grade, Boy Scouts were all the rage. It was a hard decision to make not letting them participate. But I did it and have had some niggling doubts. But in light of recent news, I’m glad I stuck to my guns.

I have never understood how a person’s sexual orientation affects their ability to lead a scout troop. According to an email I received from change.org, [BSA] released a statement to CNN that said,

“Our mission does not include teaching young people about sex or sexual orientation, and we do not believe it is Scouting’s role to introduce this topic in our youth development program.”

That sounds like a great policy. I wouldn’t want my kids to go into the woods with any adult of any kind and learning about sex. Sex shouldn’t be the topic during the pinewood derby either.

But how does an organization make the leap from “she’s a lesbian” to “ohmigod she’ll talk to the kids about sex and spread her homosexuality to them.” Seems like an awfully big leap.

I searched how the BSA is funded and found this. My problem is with their United Way funding. Any person who has worked for an agency or company who contributes to the United Way fund knows it isn’t as entirely voluntary as it might seem. Agencies want to show 100% participation–which means each and every employee needs to contribute at least something. So it’s not really voluntary. Sure, it can be just a few bucks, but people in social services aren’t making money. Does the United Way approve of BSA’s discriminatory ways? Does everyone contributing to the United Way agree with the discrimination?

Finally, how can an organization that uses volunteers continue to be so picky? I hear stories from other moms about the actual work that goes into being in the scouts. I imagine that it’s much greater for the leader. I also see the notices looking for leaders because there doesn’t seem to be a long line of volunteers. If Jennifer Tyrrell was a good leader (as far as I can tell, no one has ever suggested otherwise), why rock the boat? Why shake up a troop that was working? Why look a gift horse in the mouth?!

As most things do today, this is becoming a political issue. I was going to link to some articles bashing the liberal media bias, but I’m not. You can search for those yourself. People supporting Tyrrell are accused of being left-leaning liberals making trouble with the right wing people supporting the BSA’s right to do whatever it likes.

But can’t we just be concerned citizens who don’t want any discrimination of any kind? You know, moral Americans…

2 thoughts on “I Was Protesting The Boy Scouts Before It Was Cool

  1. Thank you for researching the BSA’s funding. I feel better now declining to make a weekly contribution out of my paycheck to the United Way. I’d rather donate to a charity that’s a little less discriminatory. I don’t think that’s asking too much.

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