Changing Boy Scouts

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

As the Boy Scouts executive board considers changing its anti-gay policy, Eagle Scout Zach Wahls, founder of Scouts for Equality, and the author of My Two Moms: Lessons of Love, Strength and What Makes a Family, talks about scouting and discrimination.


Zach Wahls

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Comments [26]

>> If gay priests or rabbis or imams molest young boys, why would gay scout masters not do the same?

If straight priests or rabbis or imams or schoolteachers molest young boys and girls, why would straight scout masters not do the same?

Feb. 05 2013 04:23 PM
Edward from Washington Heights AKA pretentious Hudson Heights

If gay priests or rabbis or imams molest young boys, why would gay scout masters not do the same?

Feb. 05 2013 02:01 PM

As an Eagle Scout in a Scouting family (My Father was a lifetime Scoutmaster and brother was an Eagle Scout) - as well as working as a counselor at a Boy Scout camp for several years, I have seen many facets of the organization as well as the people involved. I personally known many EXCELLENT youth scout leaders that have done an incredible job upholding the ideals of the scouting organization and turned out that they were gay. The point is that they were not known as gay while in the organization, perhaps did not even know at that point. I would encourage people to stop focusing on sexuality when thinking about the Boy Scouts and their leaders. Personal sexual preference should have NO PLACE in the conversation in anything regarding scouting. Perhaps gay marriage is something to have a national discussion about, however personal sexual preference (youth or leadership) is absolutely not something that needs to be brought anywhere near a youth (under 18) organization. It is a non-issue and basically no ones business. Boy Scouts learn respect and tolerance towards others and this national media focus only makes this harder for the organization to deal with.

Feb. 05 2013 12:06 PM
Henry from Manhattan

I used to be a regular summer camp goer and later counselor with openly gay counselors and gay camp goers (teens) who came and went for years.

Never been a problem.

Feb. 05 2013 11:56 AM
The Truth from Becky

Gay does not equal pedophile - one of these is a crime!

Feb. 05 2013 11:53 AM

I keep thinking back to 1975's "Boy Meets Boy," a musical comedy that posited a completely homosexual-tolerant society in the 1930s. Gays marrying, or in the Boy Scouts, would not even be remarked upon, it was so natural and accepted.

In the play, the cynical, Hemmingway-esque reporter is forced to remember back to when he was a scout, and had ideals. "The greatest time of my life." He becomes inspired to return to those ideals.

The final scene is a male-male wedding, complete with the iconic 2-grooms wedding cake--the first public presentation of this image in human history--and with the wedding party dressed in girl- and boy-scout uniforms.

Feb. 05 2013 11:51 AM
The Truth from Becky

@Sally - why complicate things, put them in the GIRL SCOUTS!! Even considering putting them in Boy Scouts is what I consider irresponsible parenting. Confusing...I really don't get the though process behind this question.

Feb. 05 2013 11:48 AM

I had two, out/gay high school teachers who I went on a week-long school trip to Perto Rico (20 students, boys and girls and four teachers) and to the best of my knowledge, neither abused any of use young boys. One of the most influential events in my life.

Feb. 05 2013 11:46 AM

Dimzzlewit from Manhattan once again demonstrates his irrepressible stupidity and ignorance.

Excellent work, Martin!

Feb. 05 2013 11:45 AM

Homosexuals are homosexuals.

Pedophiles are pedophiles.

SOME pedophiles happen to be homosexual.

Being homosexual DOES NOT make you a pedophile!!


Feb. 05 2013 11:43 AM

Sally from NYC - thats what the GIRL scouts are for.

Feb. 05 2013 11:43 AM

Pre mayor Bloomberg used this topic at an Eagle Scout dinner in manhattan.

Feb. 05 2013 11:42 AM
Paul from ny

Sponsorship of troops by religious organizations is due in large part to BSA's exclusions of gays: public school districts have pulled out due to BSA's discrimination.

Feb. 05 2013 11:42 AM

the boy scouts aren't about sexuality are they? I thought they were about tying knots and stuff like that. If the boy scouts aren't about sex then sexual orientation is irrelevant.

Feb. 05 2013 11:41 AM
Sally from NYC

Do the Boy Scouts exclude or welcome GIRLS? This is a serious question - I have three daughters and I really don't know.

Feb. 05 2013 11:41 AM
The Truth from Becky

OMGoodness I feel my self about to agree w/martin...Nooo say it ain't so...brb gotta go check my heart rate!

Feb. 05 2013 11:39 AM
Pam from ny

Scouting organizations around the world admit gays (and, btw, admit girls at younger ages than does BSA).

Feb. 05 2013 11:39 AM
michael from brooklyn

I was a boy scout and an eagle scout. I was closeted throughout my time with them, cause I knew of the policy and it did nothing but help me feel more isolated and wrong in my feelings all along. I wouldn't take back my time I spent with the scouts for anything, but I would never suggest anyone I know join them now that I'm a grown man secure in my own sexuality, but completely shunned from their organization.

Feb. 05 2013 11:39 AM

homophobia is childish.

Feb. 05 2013 11:38 AM

I also wonder how long it will be before they allow another despised American minority into their ranks... atheists. As a closeted atheist cub scout, this was something very important to me growing up.

Feb. 05 2013 11:37 AM

Eagle Scout here. Had a kid in scouting -- the gay ban in combination w the successful drive to meld Boy Scouts and Christian practices -- made me uncomfortable . I found it not in keeping with my training as an Eagle Scout. This development is good news for scouts like myself .

Feb. 05 2013 11:37 AM

I'm 45-year-old Life Scout who is 100% heterosexual and I believe it is absurd that The Boy Scouts exclude homosexuals! What is the lesson they are teaching these young scouts? If I had a son, I'd find an alternative. Shameful for 2013!

Feb. 05 2013 11:36 AM

Why does Obama have an expressed opinion about the Boy Scouts and not about inner city gun violence?

Feb. 05 2013 11:36 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

@ Christine-


Please provide a link. And not some study funded by the HRC.
There was a WSJ piece a while back that suggested that child abuse by gay men accounted for a disproportionately high percentage of cases, but that the media doesn't dare go near those numbers.
So they repeatedly come up with tropes like "gay doesn't mean pedophile."

It's politically incorrect to call male predators of boys what they are ... gay men ... so they call them "confused" or other names.

It was disingenuous to have a lesbian file that lawsuit.
Lesbians as scoutmaster would be fine. We all know that's NOT the issue.

Feb. 05 2013 11:28 AM
Christine from Westchester

@Martin: Gay isn't the same as pedophile. More abuse occurs at the hands of "straight" men than gays or women. Take a look at the cases: these aren't gay men assaulting children and more than we worry about lesbians assaulting our girl scouts.

BSUSA is a private organization. Many of us think the anti-gay stance is old fashioned, short sighted and small minded. BUT they are a private org and can choose to allow members as they wish. I think there are still mens organizations that don't allow women. I don't see an outcry about that. My best advice to any guy who doesn't feel welcome in the scouts: you don't want to be there anyway. Stick with people who like and want you. Much better for your self esteem.

Feb. 05 2013 11:14 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

Who can object to gay boy scouts participating?

But as to gay scoutmasters and, ahem, weekend camping trips ... who will pay the BSA's legal bills and large settlements from the inevitable (yes, inevitable, sorry) abuse suits by parents/ abused scouts ala the catholic church?
Will gay right s groups chip in? Will Mr. Wahls help out?

Feb. 05 2013 11:06 AM

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