Mon Feb 4, 2013, 03:41 PM
Hissyspit (42,456 posts)
Boy Scout Families Deliver Petition Urging End to Policy Banning Gays
Source: CBS News
Boy Scout families deliver petition urging end to policy banning gays
February 04, 2013
IRVING, Texas Scouts and their families have delivered a petition to the Boy Scouts of America headquarters urging an end to a policy banning gay scouts and leaders from the organization.
Jennifer Tyrrell was among the dozen people who delivered the petition. Tyrrell says she was forced out as leader of her son's Cub Scout pack because she's gay, and she doesn't want to see any other parents treated in the same way.
She says the policy is "archaic" and needs to change.
The families were waiting for a representative of Boy Scouts of America to come and accept their petition.
Read more: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-201_162-57567529/boy-scout-families-deliver-petition-urging-end-to-policy-banning-gays
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Response to Hissyspit (Original post)
Mon Feb 4, 2013, 05:12 PM
democrat_cop (4 posts)
1. Scouting for all of us
The National Council of the Boy Scouts of America will this week consider altering its ban on gay people as scouts and leaders. Many believe that scouts are an anachronism, having outlived the rural vs. city slum dichotomy of a century ago. Robert Baden-Powell organized scouts to offer boys an opportunity to experience nature as an adventure, a place to learn important skills and, above all, become part of a team whose aim is as simple as creating a better future. I believe scouting is more important to our children now, beginning its second hundred years, than it was when it was created so long ago. The issue of gay members is a distraction, hardly a central issue to any of the founding principles of scouting. Like so many issues involving hate, it was raised as a cheap and convenient unifier for those who felt that the passage of time and the evolution of our society, had jeopardized too many aspects of the scouting they remembered. And like so many hate campaigns, it yielded nothing but trouble, undermining fundamental values, in this case those of scouting.
I my own experience (I have been a scout since 1961) my packs, dens, troops and patrols have been filled mostly with the less than “cool” boys of my community. We were the dreamer comic book/science fiction nerds, juvenile delinquents (including those of us routed by our educational system to the “shop” curriculum), and the kids who built things aimed at real and imagined adventure including tree houses, coaster cars, radio sets and shocker coils. In the time vastly predating the Internet, we were the techno-geeks. We didn't have an Internet but we had ham radios and shortwave receivers; we learned Morse code (the same kind of binary code on which our computers run today) that could be used with radios, flags and signal lights. Included were kids we later learned were gay or cross-dressers. We didn't understand homosexuality or transvestism. We just knew that in our band of misfits and outcasts, there were boys who seemed effeminate, many times slight in build and slower in maturation, interested in “girl stuff,” or who were overly talkative or into art and took music lessons. We accepted them into our amalgam. Like all boys, we made fun of them as we made fun of each other's shortcomings, foibles, mistakes, fears and general boneheaded stupidity. No one was safe, we all hassled each other. This included elaborate tricks, dares, jokes and initiations. We were the natural gang of boys that Baden-Powell had envisioned in the 19th century.
Scouts began for me in earnest during junior high....what we now call middle school. It was a period of our lives when our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual lives could never have been worse for adapting us to the demands our educational system and society. We were becoming proto-adults in a structure that seemed to be designed exclusively to insult, punish and ignore most of us-public education.
The cool kids were jocks, big, strong, good-looking, with nice clothes (later, nice cars). In junior high, athletic prowess was a new ticket to status and tolerance among otherwise overly rigid educators. Jocks who bullied and belittled the rest of us were never punished by the teachers or principals. I always thought that most educators were bullied themselves (except the coaches) as kids, and in their adulthood were still intimidated by jocks (or worse, still wanting to unconsciously curry favor with the “in crowd,” to which they never belonged). The in-crowd members were too cool to be upbraided for physically assaulting, ostracizing and insulting the rest of the student body. Scouting provided an element of confidence that helped us non-jocks survive (those of us who chose not to be fawning lick-spittles to the in-crowd). Scouting taught us about dangerous stuff....fire, knives, axes, firearms, archery, surviving in the wilderness and rescuing all kinds of victims. Scouting was the secret fraternity of the misfits. And it was certainly secret, hardly anyone mentioned it during school, or if they did, it was in whispers. Nobody could admit they could possibly be as “uncool” as a scout.
Scouts gave us purpose when we needed it most. The oath and law we memorized were always in our subconscious to inflict guilt (sometimes seriously delayed guilt) for bad behavior. And above all we were a TEAM! We were all broken and flawed, but, goddammit, we had each other (scouts, being misfits, also cussed a lot).
Scouting, from its beginning was planned to be boys leading boys. Adult leaders were along simply as advisers or as last resorts against bad behavior or unsafe conditions. Our adult leaders were our dads. The hauled us to and from the meetings and campouts, provided a few lessons in campcraft based on what they experienced in the military and finally took us to the emergency room when it looked like the bleeding wasn't going to stop without stitches, a bone was sticking through the skin, or if some one was knocked out and didn't come to within a few minutes. These were men who had landed at Normandy, flown bombers, fought in the Philippines, at Guadalcanal, Anzio or the Chosin Reservoir. They pretty much left us to run wild in the woods. Any risks we took never held a candle to what they had already experienced (I never really understood their almost universal quiet, spooky, solemnity until I saw “Saving Private Ryan”).
Our adults left us to tease and torment each other as well as experience the adventures and hazards that ultimately bonded us. We unleashed on each other tirades of insults, needles and pokes that rivaled anything you heard in a prison or from a drill instructor. Included among the “morons, dumbshits, asswipes, fucknuts, etc.” epithets, were “fags, queers, homos, etc.” Not that we knew what “fag, queer and homo” really meant, we just knew that they were terrific insults along with the rest of our dictionary of profanity and torment.
So in our troop, we laughed at the effeminate kids, the fat kids, the slow kids, the stinky kids.....we all had something wrong with us and mutual verbal punishment had to be accepted along with membership. We could abuse our own, but we closed ranks around them if some one from another troop called one of our guys, “fag” or “retard.” Troops on district camporees or at summer camp went to war over this.
I vividly remember at summer camp a large troop from central Kansas City. They had an effeminate kid who every summer brought a dress in his camp box. They made fun of him, but when a scout from a troop in an adjacent campsite called the young cross-dresser a “queer,” a war erupted between the two troops that lasted the rest of the session and sent at least a dozen kids to the health lodge.
We knew we were misfits and we had to take care of each other.....and we did. Later in college (UMKC), there was the Gay Liberation Union and I began to understand what the whole gay, lesbian, homosexual thing was about. UMKC was a large urban campus with few organized social activities for us impoverished students. The GLU always had free food and free showings of old movies, so a lot of us straights showed up as well. I knew students there I had known in scouts, some “came out,” and I began to connect their behavior I knew as a kid with their true adult identity. It all began to make sense. We would tell stories and laugh about our delinquent, wild beast, uncivilized even , non-scout like behavior. A few said how their brother scouts accepted their “difference” and it was the first time they felt like they belonged to something as their real selves. We were crude and many times boorish, but we learned how to do a lot of good for our communities. We helped with charities, parades, finding lost children, holiday food drives and providing first aid and other emergency services. We achieved ranks (I earned my Eagle in 1968) and earned merit badges, all the while learning of the larger, wider world and our obligations to it.
We were better people for being scouts. The “in crowd,” the “jocks,” only seemed to live up to increasing selfishness. We scouts always had the oath and law to live up to, something much greater than any self interested athletic or academic performance.
The final irony of my long scouting career is that the greatest scout leader I ever knew was gay. He was later forced to resign from scouts, mainly (I believe) because the scouts never could distinguish homosexuality from pedophilia. Somehow gays were a threat to scouts. This leader knew an amazing amount of scouting skills as well as had incredible artistic talents. He always implored us to be good scouts, to follow the oath and law, and to remember our obligations to our families, churches, community and country. He was a veteran of the US Army and an unflinching patriot. Yet because of the short and narrow sightedness of weak and cowardly professional scouters, this great scout leader was bitterly driven from the movement. The professional scouts had forgotten their obligations to the oath and law. They took a coward's path, dismissing a man who had been the best adult leader I had ever known. They did this to appease some frightened, poorly educated men who had spent too much time listening to hate radio, caught in the maelstrom of fear, hate and anger exploited by cheap, immoral politicians.
My own son had doubts about being a scout and then earning his Eagle award. He disagreed with scouting's stand on gay members. I told him that as a scout and particularly an Eagle scout, people will listen to his opinion on allowing gays in scouting and give it the weight an Eagle scout commands, not just someone who could be dismissed as a “quitter.” He earned his Eagle award in 2009. It is ironic that he finds himself somewhat in the closet as a scout. He is in a pursuit that requires a great deal of creativity and contact with other creative individuals who take a dim view of scouting's attitude toward gays. He rarely tells anyone he is a scout or even an Eagle scout.
We need scouting now more than ever. Kids need to be pried from their computer screens and handhelds. They need to run in the woods, handle knives and axes, build fires, set up tents, learn first aid, water safety, handicrafts and ultimately adult job skills. Scouting and the 21st century need each other. This will involve accepting all of us who want to dedicate their lives to the oath and law of scouting.
If scouts treat each other according to the oath and law, gays are absolutely a non-issue. If everyone treats everyone else professionally with courtesy, manners and the brotherhood of scouting, being gay will never be an issue. I hope the leaders of national scouting have realized this and vote to amend their rules accordingly.