Obviously, as a gay guy, I think it’s a HUGE deal that the Boy Scouts of America are considering dropping their stance on gays in the organization.
But it’s not just because of the whole gay rights thing.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s potentially HUGE for the gay community.
But there’s a more personal reason for me thinking this is so big.
You see, growing up I was really into the whole Boy Scout thing.
In fact, I was actually the second Senior Patrol Leader of my troop, ever (and if you don’t know what that means, basically I was the head honcho of the troop ;))
Anyway, Boy Scouts was a huge part of my childhood up until I got into high school.
I spent countless summers going to different Boy Scout camps and for 2 summers, I actually worked at one of the Boy Scout Sea Bases teaching scouts and other locals how to sail (amongst some other classes).
For about 4 years, the Boy Scouts kind of ruled my life.
And I truly do owe a lot to the organization.
Spending those 2 summers at the sea base were some of the best times that I’ve ever had in my life.
It gave me the opportunity to give back to the community while discovering one of my true passions (the water and boating) and I truly am grateful to the organization for giving me that opportunity.
But, it was only a year or two later that I completely gave up on the whole scouting life.
And here’s why…
Like I said, scouting was everything to me for a good 4 years or so. I was on the fast track to getting my Eagle Scout when I hit a few bumps that knocked me off course.
As you may or may not know, one of the big things about becoming an Eagle Scout is that you have to take on an Eagle project.
Something that gives back to the community and it’s a project that has to take at least 100 hours in total time to complete (I think).
Well, when I was looking to get my Eagle Scout project approved, it was right around the time when 9/11 happened.
Like many of you, I was really shaken up by the experience and I wanted to figure out a way that we could commemorate the lives that were lost on that fateful day.
After thinking up different ideas, I came across this newspaper article of a kid that created a mosaic of an American flag and put it on his school for his Eagle project.
What a great idea!
I could do the same thing and just add my own flair to it! Perfect.
So, I decided to talk to my old elementary school principal and see if I could do something similar and put it on the walls of one of the buildings.
She, of course, thought it was a great idea and gave me the green light.
Then I had to talk to some dude that apparently has the power to give the yay or nay on whatever project it is that you’re thinking up.
So, I showed up all excited and ready to meet with the guy. I was pumped that I got the principal’s approval and I was certain that we were just going to discuss the details.
I mean, some kid had just been written up in the newspaper for doing nearly the same thing.
When I went to go and talk to the guy, he told me that he didn’t think the project was going to take the required 100 hours to do so he wasn’t going to approve my project.
Some kid had already done something similar and was written up in the fucking newspaper!
You mean to tell me that you think that my project wouldn’t have fit within the guidelines when someone else clearly already did something similar and was written in the damn newspaper?!
Anyway, at that point, I had it.
I told my Mom fuck it (yeah, I did actually talk to my Mom that way LOL) and that I had zero interest in doing anything anymore.
I had everything done but if this schmuck wasn’t going to approve the project that I really wanted to do, then he can kiss me where the sun don’t shine (when I’m not out tanning naked, of cousre :P).
And then, to top it all off, there was some shit going on in the news talking about how the Boy Scouts kicked someone out because they were gay.
I don’t remember the details, but I remember that was like the first time that something like that had happened.
And while I didn’t really “know” I was gay at the time, my sisters and family had always been gay rights advocates so I felt hurt by the whole situation.
That whole thing happened probably within a week of my project not being approved.
If it had been any other time, I probably would have gotten over the schmuck in a few weeks and figured out something else that could have been equally as meaningfu.
But, learning about how the Boy Scouts treated gay people was simply something that I did not agree with and I refused to associate myself with an organization like that.
There were countless times that other adult leaders came to talk to me, trying to convince me to move on and find another project and I told them the exact same thing.
I had zero interest in being associated with an organization that clearly discriminated against gays. That wasn’t my belief and I didn’t want to be a part of anything that had that belief.
To this day I truly feel that the whole gay thing was the tipping point of me not finishing up my scouting.
And I really think that it’s sad.
Because like I said, I really, REALLY had some amazing experiences with scouting.
Learning how to scuba dive, go backpacking, rock climbing, sail… you name it (my family wasn’t very outdoorsy so scouting was my way of satisfying that).
All of those things were such a great part of my life.
And it’s still so very sad to me that something like a stance on a CIVIL RIGHT, stopped me from continuing my association with an organization that provided so much value to me and my life.
That’s why this is so huge.
If the Boy Scouts of America finally pass this, gays will have the opportunity to experience all of these amazing experiences that I did without the fear of being kicked out.
Without the fear of potentially being outed.
And with the ability to truly be who they are without any limitations.
And let’s be honest, the Boy Scouts really does seem like a gay organization anyway, doesn’t it?
A bunch of dudes hanging out, camping together, getting naked…
Oh, never mind.
Long story short, this is big.
I truly hope that the Boy Scouts of America can finally take their heads out of their collective asses and realize that they’re truly doing their organization and gay youth a disservice by having such an obnoxious stance.
Here’s hoping that they come to their senses.
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