An Open Letter to the Boy Scouts of America
Dear Boy Scouts of America,
As you consider revising your policies to allow openly gay men and boys to be part of your organization, I wanted to share a few of my own thoughts.
I was a part of the Boy Scout organization for seven years. I have many fond memories of it. I did much good with my peers for the community, for each other, and for myself.
I learned a lot during those seven years, as well. I learned how to manage finances, rescue drowning people, support others in their goals, and so many other useful skills that I carry with me to this day.
I also learned how to hate myself. You see, I’ve been attracted to my own sex since I was eleven years old, which, coincidentally, was the year I started up in the Boy Scout program.
I remember how much emphasis was placed on what was considered normal family life and normal sexuality. Leaders talked about it from time to time. The other scouts laughed about it often. No one ever had any doubt that being anything other than straight was a quick ticket to being outcast. I wanted to disappear or cease to exist on more than one occasion.
I went to camp every summer with my friends. I went to meetings every week. I stood in the rain and the mud with those guys.
And here’s the thing.
I never wanted to have sex with any of them. I never wanted to experiment sexually with any of them. I never wanted to do anything sexual at all, ever, with any of them.
I just wanted to be accepted and feel like I wasn’t worthless. I was a preteen. Nothing else mattered.
Yet so much emphasis was placed on making sure I was never different than the norm that I never had the opportunity to feel accepted and valuable. Ever. And for that reason, I am writing this letter to ask you to reconsider your policy that forbids openly gay men or Scouts into your program.
Here’s some things I know.
First, gays don’t try and convert anyone to be gay. It’s time to let go of that belief.
Second, gay men aren’t sexual perverts or predators. Men who are perverts and predators are perverts and predators. And I agree, they should not be allowed to be leaders in the program, gay or straight. It’s time to let go of such a hurtful belief. Believe it or not, most of us who are something other than straight would have no problem joining our straight brothers and beating the living crap out of anyone who sexually harms one of our kids.
Third, your organization is called the Boy Scouts of America. Not the Straight Boy Scouts of America. Not the Religious Boy Scouts of America. Not the Elite Boy Scouts of America. It’s simply the Boy Scouts of America. And I promise you that any young man who is struggling with his sexual identity needs love and acceptance, not an environment that makes him feel like a sexual deviant or bad person.
Fourth, gay people don’t have an agenda. If they’re volunteering as leaders in your program, they aren’t going to spend their time and effort teaching their groups to love and accept gays or to fight for gay rights. Hopefully they teach their groups to love and accept people, and to fight for human rights, no matter who they’re fighting for. Hopefully straight leaders are teaching their groups that as well. Someday, you never know, those Scouts may be fighting for you.
Finally, I know how valuable this program can be to the young men of this world. We need solid programs to help our boys turn into good men, skilled men, and men who contribute to society.
I have a son. He’s almost six. I would love to watch him in the Boy Scouts program. I’d love to volunteer as one of his leaders. I’d love to camp, and canoe, and hike, and experience nature with him. I’d love to help him come up with a project that will benefit his community, and watch him make great things happen. I’d love to watch him earn the rank of Eagle Scout one day.
Right now, I cannot do that. I cannot condone your club. I cannot ask him to participate in an association that tells him everyone else’s dad is okay, yours is a pervert and is not welcome here. I can’t ask him to attend meetings with people who will constantly watch and scrutinize to make sure that he is not “pushing his dad’s agenda.” I can’t ask him to be a part of an organization that teaches him to reject others, denounce others, exclude others, and feel superior to others.
I just can’t do it.
So please. Begin to believe in the goodness of others.
Judge a man by his deeds, and by his actions. Judge him on his merits. Accept men to be volunteers in your program because they are trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent. Don’t reject men because they happen to be attracted to other men.
And don’t ever reject boys for the same thing. Our children deserve better than that.
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