Monday, June 8, 2015

Response to An Anonymous Scoutmaster

This morning I read an op-ed piece posted in the South Seattle Emerald written anonymously by a gay scoutmaster, currently serving in Chief Seattle Council of the Boy Scouts of America. He says:
I am an Eagle Scout myself. I am also a Scoutmaster, and I happen to be gay. I was awarded Scoutmaster of the year by my district in 2014, but if my local council knew that I am gay I would no longer be allowed to serve which is why I write this in anonymity. I am committed to serving the youth in my troop and for that reason I cannot be honest about who I am...
It’s about time the BSA follows its own rules and allow LGBT leaders to serve. I’m calling on the Chief Seattle Council of the BSA to be a leader and adopt its own inclusion policy for the sake of the youth the program serves. After all it is the Cub Scout Motto to “Do your best.” Is the Chief Seattle Council of the Boy Scouts really living up to that?
I posted this response:
Dear anonymous gay Scoutmaster currently serving in Chief Seattle Council,
Thank you so much for sharing your story. The voices of the oppressed, in their oppression, help us all understand the continuing need for reform.
The pillars of discrimination in Chief Seattle Council have changed from last year, and its foundations have eroded. Specifically Sharon Moulds is no longer Scout Executive. And the President of BSA has said he will not de-charter councils who refuse to follow the discrimination policies of National. And the district executive of your district may have changed.
Because of those changes it may be that an out gay scoutmaster in BSA, with the full support of his Charter Organization can successfully change the discriminatory practices of Chief Seattle Council and end the shame the continuing discrimination practiced by these scouts in our town brings upon us all. Coming out is required in order to change the practices, and support and defense by the Council is required in order to change the opinion of the community.
Harvey Milk famously said "Gay brothers and sisters,... You must come out." Your bravery is what changes matters for yourself, your troop, your district and your Council.
If you find that Chief Seattle Council fails again to live up to the ideals expressed in the Scout Oath and Law, you will not be alone. Many others in this community will stand by and defend you. Our hearts and hands are outstretched towards you. And there are other scouting organizations who will welcome you around their campfire: specifically Baden-Powell Service Association seeks brave men and women such as yourself to continue bringing traditional scouting values to the next generation, equally to all.
Coming out is for the sake of all youngsters. Coming out frees straight scouts from the embarrassment they currently feel as participants in oppressing others. And for the gay scouts and their families it creates a world free from the fear of discrimination, exclusion, excommunication and shame. It is 2015. It is time to come out.

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