Meet August and Liam Easton-Calabrias:
- Both are identical twins
- Both are seniors at Nathan Hale High School in Seattle, Washington
- Both received the rank of Eagle Scout over the past weekend
- Both have participated in scouting for seven years
- Both earned the same 22 merit badges
Yet one of them is about to be booted from the scouts for one small characteristic that makes them slightly different: one is gay and one is straight. You can probably guess which one is being shown the door!
Last year, after a history of bigotry, the Boy Scouts of America tried to implement a more tolerant stance when it decided to allow gay youths to participate in its organizations. Gay adults, however, were still banned and a number of parent and community leaders have been kicked out simply because of their sexual orientation.
As KOMO News reports, this discriminatory stance has left Liam, the gay twin, in limbo. Though he still has some time to participate with the Boy Scouts as a youth, his days are numbered. Meanwhile, August is free to continue with scouting indefinitely based on his heterosexuality.
The similarities between the twins highlight just how backwards the Boy Scouts’ approach is. To delineate between two scouts with the same set of experiences based solely on a factor that is irrelevant to scouting is ridiculous.
“It was an interesting revelation to see the Boy Scouts come together as a non-inclusive organization. I don’t think it’s true to the scouting way,” said Liam, the gay twin. “The more conversations we have, the better chance we have of getting it overturned.”
Enabling a rule change within the Scouts is certainly a goal of Liam’s. He expressed that when he has children of his own, he would like to see them involved in scouting, and ideally be permitted to participate as a leader himself.
Sadly, the Easton-Calabrias’s story is not unique. The Tessier family in Kensington, Maryland demonstrated a similar controversy regarding LGBT scouting siblings. In February, 17-year-old Pascal Tessier became the first openly gay Eagle Scout under the newly adopted “homosexuals are okay until they’re adults” policy. Incidentally, Pascal’s older brother, Lucien, is also gay and also an Eagle Scout. As a 21-year-old, however, Lucien is no longer able to affiliate with the Boy Scouts, a reality that Pascal will soon have to face himself.
At least the aforementioned pairs of brothers were able to receive the Eagle ranking after all that hard work. Just last year in Moraga, California, Ryan Andresen completed all of the requirements to become an Eagle Scout, only to see his application rejected by Boy Scout leaders because Andresen had turned 18 and is gay.
Seeing these identical faces treated differently by the Boy Scouts is bound to be bad PR for the organization. Chalk that up as another trouble the group faces for insisting to cling to a policy of intolerance.
Photo Credit: KOMO News