As of Jan. 1, a boy can be openly gay and join the Boy Scouts of America. Whew, now maybe we’ll get a makeover on those awful neckerchiefs and clunky metal belt buckles.
Just kidding. Madonna already improved upon the Boy Scout uniform when she showed up in one at the annual GLAAD Media Awards last year.
Excuse my Modest Proposal, but it takes a ludicrous suggestion to point out how stereotypes and misconceptions about an entire group of people perpetuate when you know little about the individuals in the group.
Which is why it’s so important that the Boy Scouts have stopped their unhealthy, destructive practice of banning gays from youth membership ranks.
Now young scouts can experience the real world, meet people with different viewpoints and lifestyles, and learn that being LGBT is not a big deal.
At least until they turn 18.
The Scouts still cling to their ban on gay leaders. They were 20 years late in racially desegregating their units and didn’t allow women to be Scoutmasters until the late 1980s. Must we wait another 20 years for the next generation of enlightened Boy Scouts to grow up to allow LGBT leaders?
Or will these boys presume that gayness is something that becomes horribly wrong after you turn 18?
By barring LGBT adults from participating in scouting, a new generation of scouts – gay and straight – will grow up without positive LGBT role models in their ranks. The stigma stings on.
How great would it be for a scout who is LGBT to have a successful and strong den leader who is like him? How positive would it be for straight boys to have a LGBT den leader and learn that homosexuals are just like everybody else?
Boys need to see men who have learned how to operate out in the world with confidence and couth, whatever their sexuality.
The BSA claims that uniforms have always been a part of scouting because uniforms represent a “democratic ideal of equality.”
“Boys from various cultures and different economic levels wear the same uniform and cooperate as equals,” the BSA website explains.
Keep the neckerchief if you must, but shouldn’t troop leaders be given the same, uniformly equal shot at dignity and respect?