When we all moved to Michigan last summer, my ex-husband was excited about putting our boys in Boy Scouts, which he hadn’t had the opportunity to do when we lived in New York City. He’d loved Scouts as a kid and had become an Eagle Scout.
I wasn’t in favor of it. I’d been a Girl Scout and loved it, but Girl Scouts are different than Boy Scouts, and the organizations are run different ways and teach different things. My main concern with Boy Scouts was that they deliberately excluded gay scouts and leaders from their organization.
I get that as a private organization, BSA can do whatever it wants to. But that doesn’t mean I want my children participating in discrimination and hatred. I don’t want my kids in a group that their friends aren’t allowed in. I don’t want my kids putting on a military-like uniform and learning that they shouldn’t associate with people because of the families they come from or because of their innate qualities.
But Doug really wanted the kids to do it. He found a troop he said was welcoming to gay and lesbian parents and gay boys. Even though the national organization banned it. But this troop was happy to have them. Although they didn’t specifically advertise that they welcome gay families, so there’s no way for gay families to feel welcome. We went back and forth, and then I backed down. I backed down because I knew it would make Doug happy. Because I wanted him to like Ann Arbor. Because I hoped maybe in this one little troop he could help them stand up and welcome gay people in a way that actually means something.
So they did Scouts last year. It was clearly structured for two-parent families, but I came to one of their ceremonies, and Doug managed all the rest. I still wasn’t excited about it, but thought maybe it could be benign.
But then the BSA reaffirmed their decision to ban gay scouts and leaders. And cited “support from parents” as one of the reasons they justified the exclusion.
I’m sickened. And I’ve asked Doug to pull the kids out of Scouts. Because our boys are too good to be part of this gang of bigoted thugs, and he’s too good to be part of these hatemongers. No matter what he says about their local troop, everything they do (and all the money they spend) marks them as affirming hatred.
And that’s not a lesson we should be teaching our children.
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