May 03

In the News

Let Me Get One Thing Straight About The Gays – There have always been controversies over whether there should be gay people in the military, major league sports and Scouting, but LGBT people have always been there and always will be. People wonder if gay people can maintain long term relationships and the answer is the same. So, it boils down to the real question, which is whether or not gay people should be allowed to say they’re gay. The answer there? Of course they should! LGBT people have always existed, will always be in every part of society and whose right is it to tell them that they can’t say who they are?

Letter: LDS and Scouting – The LDS Church has come out in support of the BSA’s new proposal to allow gay youth into Scouting, but to continue it’s policy banning all gay adults in any capacity. The LDS Church is trying to keep policies for everyone involved in Scouting within their own religious belief system, but would be seen as more tolerant if they allowed gay adults in Scouting.

Ousted Boy Scouts Leader Jennifer Tyrrell Joins NOH8 Campaign – Jennifer Tyrrell, a gay mom who was den mother for her son’s Scout troop, was ousted last year by the BSA for being openly gay. She has recently joined the NOH8 campaign and is seen in the article posing for NOH8 in her Scout’s uniform with the traditional duct tape across her mouth and NOH8 sign on her cheek. Tyrrell is an open opponent to the BSA’s ban on gays in Scouting and is also working to reverse Ohio’s 2004 amendment forbidding the state to recognize any marriage that is not heterosexual.

VIEW FROM AWAY: Collins’ merit badge – NBA center, Jason Collins, had become uncomfortable keeping his sexual orientation a secret and earlier this week made a public announcement that he is gay. He is now the first openly gay athlete in pro sports, a change that will hopefully lead to more players feeling comfortable coming out to the public. The Boy Scouts have offered up a feeble proposal that would allow gay youth, but continue it’s discrimination against gay leaders. As Scouting is all about families, the Scouts need to take a hint and move forward with the times allowing an all inclusive membership. Being LGBT just isn’t that big of a deal in the public’s eyes anymore.

BSA should accept gay Scouts, leaders – In a vote to come later this month the BSA has proposed to lift the ban on openly gay youth, but continue forward with it’s ban on openly gay adult leaders (anyone starting when they turn 18 years old). This proposal has people on both sides of the controversy saying that the inconsistency within the proposal is not acceptable. Some religious groups will pull their charters for troops if gay youth is allowed in Scouting and many of those in favor of inclusiveness for all feel the proposal would ultimately not be enough of a change.

Scouts’ proposal would ‘increase boy-on-boy sexual contact’ – John Stemberger, founder of OnMyHonor.net and an Eagle Scout has sent a letter to the more than 1400 members of the National Council who will be voting on the BSA’s proposed change that would allow openly gay Scouts to participate in Scouting until their 18th birthday. He believes that if the proposal is passed it would lead to unwanted activities between boys. On the other side, proponents of allowing all LGBT people to participate fully in Scouting, are not satisfied with the level of the new proposal either. This group feels that the step would fall short of what is truly needed to make an acceptable change within the Boy Scouts of America.

“Opening the Boy Scouts to boys who openly proclaim being sexually attracted to other boys and/or openly identify themselves as ‘gay’ will inevitably create an increase of boy-on-boy sexual contact,” says John Stemberger, Eagle Scout and founder of OnMyHonor.Net, in an open letter to Scout leaders.

May 02

In the News

Changing the Scouts – The BSA announced on April 19th that it will be voting on a proposed policy change to allow gay youth, but continue to deny membership to gay Scouts and leaders 18 and over. This vote has many teens like Pascal Tessier anxious about their future within the BSA. Tessier is one example of an openly gay Scout who is working towards his Eagle and explains that the vote will be devastating to him if not passed. Many see the proposal as a back step to what the BSA had originally announced it would be voting on.

“The proposal isn’t just insulting; it’s illogical. Under the new proposal, at the stroke of midnight on their 18th birthdays, gay Scouts like Tessier — long valued as leaders in their troops and communities — will suddenly become an intolerable threat.”

Lesbian teen from Brighton recounts firing as Boy Scouts camp counselor – Lauren Jasenak, a 19 year old counselor for the Venturing program in Michigan was fired for being a lesbian. She recalls that she had confided in a cabinmate (an administrator for the camp) that she was a lesbian and had asked that the communication be kept confidential. However, she was later called into the office of her boss, Bill Licht, who she says then questioned her over and over about her sexual orientation. She eventually admitted to being a lesbian under the pressure and was fired on the spot with no way to get home for her pet rabbit, Thumper, or herself. With help from Equality Michigan, she has filed a complaint against the camp. She has also filed a petition on Change.org to allow gay youth, leaders and employees to be allowed to remain in the Boy Scouts.

Her petition at Change.org can be found here

Fired Lesbian Boy Scout Camp Employee Petitions Boy Scouts to End Ban on Gay Youth and Adults – Last summer while working as a camp counselor at a Boy Scout Camp in Michigan, 19-year old Lauren Jasenak, was fired for being openly lesbian. This event came one day after the BSA reaffirmed their policy on banning all gay members and leaders involved in a Scouting program. She has currently drafted a petition to her local Boy Scout’s Council to vote for the change allowing both openly gay youth and adults to be allowed to belong to the Boy Scouts of America.

Her petition at Change.org can be found here

Scouts need live-and-let-live policy on gay leaders

“The Boy Scouts — apparently with conservative support — is finally and belatedly poised to adopt a nondiscrimination policy for boys. But the Scouts’ conservatives continue to resist another logical step: letting the local chartered organizations decide their own policies on Scout leaders. Some — such as United Methodist congregations — have no problem with gay den mothers, scoutmasters, etc.”

Trib Talk: Utahns react to Boy Scouts’ proposal on gay members – Paul Mero, a conservative leader in Utah stated that he believes the proposal being voted on by the BSA in May opens the door for lawsuits by adult leaders in Scouting if passed. The opening for lawsuits would be due to the inequity of adopting a policy allowing gay youth, but turning around and continuing the ban on gay adults. Kendall Wilcox, an openly gay Eagle Scout and member of The LDS Church, expressed his satisfaction with his church’s open support for the proposal and upcoming vote.

Collins case exposes U.S. Boy Scout hypocrisy – On Wednesday night, Jason Collins, the Washington Wizards center who has played in over 500 NBA games, announced to the public that he is gay. He is viewed as an exemplary role model and until then would have been accepted as a Scout leader. But, not anymore. Neither would other gay American icons like Anderson Cooper, Ellen DeGeneres or Sen. Tammy Baldwin. However, Penn State’s Jerry Sandusky would have been welcomed by the BSA before being exposed as a serial child abuser. As BSA has taken a strong stand behind its anti gay policies the world has changed around them and even with the new proposal allowing gay youth, many believe that step is simply insufficient.

Apr 22

BSA Coalition Offers Alternate Resolution on Adult Members, Leaders, and Parents

A coalition of Scout leaders led by Jay Lenrow from the Northeast Region has submitted an alternate resolution to the BSA to allow units to welcome adult members, leaders, and parents regardless of sexual orientation. This resolution was delivered to the BSA this morning, the deadline for consideration at the BSA’s 2013 annual meeting next month.

Cover Letter for BSA Resolution on Adult Leadership

BSA Resolution on Adult Leadership

The relevant language from the resolution reads:

All adult applicants must possess the moral, educational, and emotional
qualities that the Boy Scouts of America deems necessary to afford positive
leadership to youth. The applicant must also be the correct age, subscribe to the
precepts of the Declaration of Religious Principle (duty to God), and abide by the
Scout Oath and the Scout Law.

That each Chartered Organization of the Boy Scouts of America shall have
the right (but not be required) to grant membership to individuals who, in the best
judgment of that Chartered Organization, demonstrate behavior that exemplifies
the highest level of good conduct and respect for others in accordance with the
mission of the BSA and is consistent with the principles and teachings of that
Chartered Organization, without regard to sexual orientation.

They have asked for help in encouraging the BSA’s National Council to allow a vote on, and then vote for the resolution. You can find your local BSA council by putting your ZIP code into BSA’s web form at BeAScout.org.

Apr 19

Press Release on Proposed Policy Change

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 19, 2013

Press contacts:
Christopher Hayes (518) 466-4386
Mark Noel (603) 387-7731
Matt Comer (336) 391-9528

INCLUSIVE SCOUTING NETWORK VOICES RESERVATION AND CONCERN OVER PROPOSED GAY SCOUT POLICY

Proposed policy would maintain institutionalized discrimination, limit opportunities of openly gay Boy Scout youth

The Inclusive Scouting Network, a group of current and former members of the Boy Scouts of America founded shortly after the Supreme Court’s Boy Scouts v. Dale decision in 2000, is voicing reservation and concern over today’s proposed policy change by the Boy Scouts of America regarding gay members and leaders. The Executive Council of the Boy Scouts of America released their proposed policy today, which keeps the gay ban in place for adult leaders but would prohibit kicking out openly gay Scout youth members “on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone” [emphasis added]. The policy must be voted on at a national meeting of more than 1,400 Scout representatives in May and would not go into effect until 2014.

“We believe the proposed policy is a small step forward, but does not go nearly far enough in addressing issues of discrimination against gay Boy Scout members and leaders,” said Christopher Hayes, one of the co-founders of The Inclusive Scouting Network. “This policy maintains institutionalized discrimination, leaves open the possibility of harassment and bullying of gay youth, and continues to send the wrong message to youth members that discrimination is acceptable.”

“Under this policy, every gay Scout will eventually be kicked out — it’s only a question of when,” said Mark Noel, another co-founder of The Inclusive Scouting Network. “Allowing a 16 year old to stay and complete his Eagle is a step forward, but why would he stay when the same policy will kick him out as soon as he turns 18? The message here is that LGBT people still aren’t welcome in the BSA and have no future in Scouting.”

The proposed policy is concerning on several levels, including:
• the limitation for Scout advancement past the age of 18,
• the continued institutional message that discrimination is acceptable,
• the implication that LGBT youth don’t know what they’re doing when they come out,
• the lack of anti-bullying and anti-harassment provisions for gay youth in chartered units with anti-gay theological positions, and
• the lack of any provision granting recourse to youth denied opportunities for membership under this proposed policy.

The Inclusive Scouting Network believes the proposed policy, though deeply flawed, is better than the current policy and therefore urges representatives to the national meeting in May to pass it. However, the organization will continue working to ensure that the Boy Scouts of America will become a safe and affirming environment for all Scouts, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity and religious belief. The only acceptable policy is a comprehensive national policy of non-discrimination that does not expire with age.

“The Boy Scouts of America’s proposed policy is a delaying tactic in dealing with important issues of inclusion and discrimination,” said ISN co-founder Matt Comer. “This issue will not go away, as indicated by the Scouts’ own surveys showing a majority of their own youth members ages 16-18 oppose the discriminatory policy.”

Over ten thousand people across the nation and the globe are speaking out against the Boy Scouts of America’s continued discriminatory practices by wearing the Network’s Inclusive Scouting Award. Introduced in 2002, the Inclusive Scouting Award is a small, multicolored patch designed to mimic other adult leader awards worn on the scout uniform and modeled after the “safe space” sticker programs used in high schools that research has shown to be very effective at improving the environment for LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) and other at-risk youth. The Inclusive Scouting Award identifies wearers as supporters of inclusive scouting and allies to Scouts and Scouters threatened with exclusion by the BSA’s discriminatory membership policies. Because the emblem has never been approved by the BSA, its motto is “You earn it by wearing it.”

The two ropes of the square knot on the Inclusive Scouting Award patch symbolize religion and sexual orientation. One rope is silver and purple – colors the BSA reserves for religious emblems. The other rope is rainbow-colored – a pattern that is representative of diversity and is used widely in LGBT communities as a symbol of pride and unity. According to reported BSA statements, the proposed change to membership policies would apply only to sexual orientation and would not change BSA’s longstanding national policy of barring all atheist, agnostic, and non-theist youth and adults from the program.

Inclusive Scouting Network
PO Box 2853
Malta, NY 12020
info@inclusivescouting.net
www.inclusivescouting.net

Press resources: http://www.inclusivescouting.net/media/

# # #

Apr 19

BSA Exec. Committee Votes to Keep Gay Ban

Breaking: The BSA Executive committee votes to keep the gay ban in place, but delay action on LGBT youth members until they hit their 18th birthday, citing internal polling showing that 50.5% of BSA councils recommend no change to existing policies.

The proposal to be voted on in May therefore will not rescind the gay ban, but will merely postpone discriminatory action against LGBT youth members until they are older.

Boy Scouts of America Membership Standards Resolution

Membership Standards Study Initiative Executive Summary

Mar 29

Host a Free Showing of “Scout’s Honor”

Poster for documentary film Scout's HonorWe now have the award-winning documentary film Scout’s Honor available on DVD for anyone willing to host a showing.

This film from 2001 tells the story of Steve Cozza, Dave Rice, Tim Curran, and James Dale and is a great way to start off a discussion of the BSA’s membership policies. It runs under an hour, and won the Audience Award at Sundance for Best Documentary.

If you can host a showing with your unit, church, charter organization or elsewhere in your council before the BSA’s vote, the Inclusive Scouting Network can send you a copy of the film on DVD (courtesy of director/producer Tom Shepard and New Day Films).

Sign up via our volunteer form and select Hosting a Showing of the Documentary Film “Scout’s Honor” as one of your areas of interest:

Volunteer to Host a Free Showing Here

View the trailer for the film

View a streaming version of the entire film (available for a limited time)

Mar 27

Venture Crew Adopts ISA to Support Gay Members

A Scouter recently included this great story with a follow-up order for 50 more Inclusive Scouting Award square knot patches for his unit (published with permission; identifying information removed):

Inclusive Scouting Award square knot on uniformThank you for sending me the first Inclusive Scouting Award badges. My co-ed Crew, about half of whom are already Eagles, took it very seriously and put it to a vote at a Green Bar meeting. They unanimously voted to wear the square knot on their uniforms. I was impressed, but warned them to think about it because there could be serious ramifications with Council if anyone took issue with their decision. They told me they were telling me as a courtesy, but it was a fait accompli – they had already decided on their own.

When I told them how impressed I was with their bravery, especially since they personally “didn’t have a horse in this race,” they all laughed at me. It turns out I was wrong about that. They politely explained that two of our scouts are gay. I had no idea, but I guess that’s how it should be. Someone’s sexual orientation doesn’t matter a whit in our program. The whole Crew was standing up as a matter of brotherhood for their fellow Scouts, and they weren’t going to stand for their friends being bullied or picked on by National.

Our charter organization had been considering ending their 40+ year sponsorship of the scouting program at the church over this issue. They recently called me into a board meeting to explain our Crew policy, so I showed them the square knot on my uniform, explained its meaning and told them this story. They were very happy to hear it and I think it restored their faith that the Scouting program works.

Mar 26

NBC’s New Normal Airs Boy Scout Episode

Tonight, NBC’s The New Normal airs its Boy Scout episode, where the character David’s membership is revoked for ‘homosexual conduct’ after other scoutmasters meet his husband, Bryan.

‘The New Normal’: Justin Bartha talks tonight’s episode on the Boy Scouts’ gay ban (Entertainment Weekly)

Episode of NBC’s The New Normal to take on Boy Scouts gay ban this week (Gay Star News)

“The New Normal” Addresses Boy Scouts’ Ban (Queerty)

Mar 25

UCC and UUA Are Officially On Board

The United Church of Christ and the Unitarian Universalist Association have officially signed on as supporters of the movement to end BSA’s gay ban.

“The United Church of Christ (UCC) has a long history of supporting social justice and affirming the worth of all God’s children, regardless of who they love. . . . ‘The BSA should honor its values of respecting the diversity of theological teachings that exist among the broad spectrum of faith groups that participate, including the UCC’s values of extravagant welcome and inclusion.’”

“As an organization of faith and spirituality, the UUA exemplifies what it means to honor the inherent worth and to nurture spiritual growth of all people. Similarly, the BSA has a long history of standing by these same guiding principles; even the father of the Scouting movement, Lord Robert Baden-Powell, said ‘the sport in Scouting is to find the good in every boy and develop it.’ By accepting all youth who are willing to live by Scouting’s principles into the BSA, we are able to follow his vision.”

Their complete statements of support are available on the Scouts for Equality web site, and kudos to our friends at SFE for their great work here.

Mar 24

Chief Scout Executive Admits that Gay Ban Must Go

Wayne Brock, the National Chief Scout Executive, told an audience at a Florida leadership conference that the BSA’s gay ban will eventually have to go.

From Scouts at crossroads in Orlando over gay ban (Orlando Sentinel):

Brock, speaking before a leadership summit by the group’s Central Florida Council, candidly admitted that, even if the policy doesn’t change, the issue will probably not go away. “We know the younger generation does not view this the same way the older generation does,” Brock said. “They don’t understand what the big deal is.”

Addressing the question of what happens if the policy stays the same, Brock said: “If you look at the demographics, in a few years we’ll revisit this again.”

Mar 06

The Pins Are Back!

Pin versions of the Inclusive Scouting Award square knotThe long-awaited pin version of the Inclusive Scouting Award square knot is back, after having been sold out for several months.

Due to high demand and additional shipping costs (we can’t fit them in a flat envelope), a donation of $3.50 per pin are highly encouraged to help us cover costs. Orders with accompanying donations will be filled first. As always, thanks for your understanding and support!

Order Yours Now from the Inclusive Scouting Store
Volunteer  to help reach out to other Scouts and Scouters before the May vote.

to help our volunteers reach voting delegates in every BSA council.
Mar 05

In the News

Carly Rae Jepsen, Train pull out of Boy Scout event over gay ban – Tuesday morning Carly Rae Jepsen Tweeted that she is a supporter of equality and will not be playing at the BSA’s National Jamboree scheduled for this summer. Band Train had already expressed their opinion and backed out unless the BSA lifts the ban before the Jamboree. Thousands of petitions and rewuests by individuals and GLAAD prompted the two bands to review their decision.

Train Backs Out of Boy Scouts Jamboree Over Gay Ban – Train, the band based out of San Francisco, has bowed out of playing at the BSA’s National Jamboree due to the BSA’s ban on openly gay people. They were made aware of this policy by GLAAD, Derek Nance and a petition with over 3,000 signature’s asking them not to play.

PHOTOS: Eagle Scout Delivers 120,000 Petitions Calling For NatGeo To Denounce Boy Scouts’ Gay Ban – Earlier today in Washington, DC openly gay WIll Oliver and members of GLAAD delivered over 120,000 petition signatures to National Geographic in an attempt to persuade them to acknowledge the BSa’s ban on gays and to cancel the showing of new TV show ‘Are you Tougher than a Boy Scout?’

By failing to acknowledge the Boy Scouts’ discriminatory policy, National Geographic Channel is turning a cold shoulder to gay and allied viewers. Silence implies apathy towards all the Scouts and leaders who have been forced to hide who they are,” Oliver said before delivering the petitions. “Over 120,000 people have spoken — not to demand that the show be canceled — but to ask that National Geographic Channel reaffirm its core belief in non-discrimination.”

Boy Scouts, Dump Your ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Policy (Part 2): The Exclusion of Gays – A brief history of the Boy Scouts Ban on gays in Scouting beginning with the first memorandum in 1978 through the upcoming vote in May.

Culture warriors in Boy Scouts gay membership battle keep hurling hand grenades at each other – The clash between sides in the debate over whether or not the BSA will lift its ban on gays in scouting continues. The LGBT community likens their position to the civil rights movement and is gaining traction with a lot of national companies and members across the country.

Boy Scouts: Tony Perkins Praises Rick Perry And 60 Texas Republicans Supporting Gay Ban

Family Research Council (FRC) president Tony Perkins is praising a recent open anti-gay letter to the Boy Scouts of America signed by over 60 Texas Republican elected officials. The letter, which originally appeared on a website run by Texas Values, say the signatories “strongly encourage the Boy Scouts of America to stick with their decades of support for family values and moral principles.

National Geographic Rejects Gay Scout’s Petition Request – National Geographic did reject the request to put a disclaimer on their new show airing tonight called, ‘Are You Tougher than a Boy Scout?’, but did offer Will Oliver space to write a blog on the shows website.