by Leah Waldron
After the Boy Scouts of America promised (scout’s honor!) that they would re-examine lifting the ban on gay scout leaders by next year, an 11-member committee announced this week that 1) the ban will remain and 2) they have been meeting “in secret” to debate the issue since 2010. The decision was, unfortunately, unanimous. Furthermore, the BSA committee found that more scouting families preferred the current ban than the hundreds of thousands of individuals who signed a Change.org petition to lift the ban.
(But, BSA…you promised you would “think” about changing! How could you do this to us? Was it something we did?)
Enough with the pleading and pandering to these homophobes. As of today, it’s time we break it off (if you need a theme song—let’s go with “I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor). They don’t want gays leading our troops, and their reasoning was clear: more scouting families are bigots than not, and they don’t want to lose their legions of supporters. In other words, if they had decided to lift the ban on gay scouts, they would have lost more scouting families than they gained, and where’s the business strategy in that?
The BSA may have pioneered the art of teaching kids morality (over a century ago, mind you), but it does not own a copyright on it. It has dressed up millions of children and teens in uniforms, sewn badges to their shirts when they accomplish a task, and taught them survival skills. But it doesn’t own the idea of “always prepared.”
So LGBT people (and allies) who are sick of fighting with the BSA – stop trying to change it, and dump its sorry ass, already. Homophobia is a bitter addiction, and no matter how much you want a man (because corporations are people, right?) to change, he’s only going to make that change when he’s ready. And today, he made it pretty clear that he is NOT ready.
And let’s say that he does change his mind, and gay scouts are welcomed into the world of scouting. Do we really want these people—ex-homophobes who are just now coming around on gay rights–teaching our children how to be moral, upstanding American citizens? Absolutely not. You wouldn’t raise a kid with an abusive boyfriend, so why would you even want your child in a scouting uniform? (and please don’t say nostalgia… that’s like saying that you should stick with a man because he “used to be” awesome. Not cool.)
Instead of joining the fight to make the BSA a better “man,” let’s lose his number and form our own troops. Unlike starting our own U.S. military, which would require a bit of start-up money, a pro-equality organization that dresses up and teaches children merit-based morality cannot be that hard to orchestrate. Okay, it will be a little difficult, but we’re an organized and creative subset of the population, and if they could do it in 1910, why couldn’t we? So let’s stop with the petitions and start with the business plans and uniform designs.
After all, gay men could really modernize the boy scout uniform, and lesbians are pretty amazing at outdoor survival skills. And George Takei—who claims the BSA taught him to be a better man—can be CEO.
So…who’s with me?