Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Scouts Honor

      I jokingly say that I was a Boy Scout for two weeks.  That's not fully factual since I never really joined.  I went to two meetings that were held on the second floor of our Town Hall.  I was excited about the prospect of becoming a scout and spent most of the meetings fantasizing about who would become my friends while making the wood floor squeak with the bottoms of my shoes along with the other boys.  After assessing the lot and activities over those two weeks, I confessed to my family that I didn't want to become a scout because I didn't want to go on the overnight camping trips.  To this day, camping is not in my vocabulary and "roughing it" is a night at the Red Roof Inn.

      The Scoutmaster was an acquaintance of our family and convinced my mother that scouting would be good for me.  I didn't realize what effeminate meant so long ago, but now I can identify that he was and I felt embarrassed because I wasn't really interested in the scouting adventure.  He was an enthusiastic leader and took a special interest in me.  Even with all of the attention, I couldn't join the force.  He ran into my brother-in-law a couple of years ago and asked how I was doing.  I thought of all the boys he had worked with over the years and all that he had taught them about becoming scouts and men.  As a gay (albeit closeted) Scoutmaster, he was fully committed to making a difference in their lives.  No one questioned his sexuality because he had such a fine record with the Boy Scouts.

      Then in the late 90's the Mormons (they are the largest group sponsoring Boy Scout troops) initiated a ban on gays joining the now 102-year-old organization.  It went all the way to the Supreme Court where it was upheld in 2000.  There has been meeting after meeting, and yesterday the Boy Scouts of America reaffirmed their ban on gays.  It made me think about my two weeks with them and how whether the leadership realizes it or not, there are gays in their society and probably always have been and will continue to be.  Its exclusion made me realize just how ridiculous their statement was.  I had the chance to be a gay scout and turned them down.  Whether it was premonition or lack of interest, I reaffirmed my decision.

I guess that leaves me out too.

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