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If You’re a Gay Scout, Social Media Can Get You Kicked Out

If You’re a Gay Scout, Social Media Can Get You Kicked Out

The BSA’s ban on openly gay scout leaders took another disturbing turn recently when it emerged that the BSA is now blocking scouts from leadership positions even when they have taken steps to hide their sexuality, actions that are disturbingly reminiscent of the U.S. military’s failed Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy.

College freshman and Eagle Scout Garret Bryant, 19, had been set for another summer holding a leadership position during the summer Boy Scout’s Camp Geronimo event, which is held about 90 miles northeast of Phoenix. All the while, he had a secret. Bryant is gay. This was a fact he had successfully hidden so as not to fall foul of the BSA’s revised policy which says that gay Scouts are acceptable but no Scout leader can be homosexual.

Then, about a month ago, Bryant reportedly changed his Facebook status to “In a Relationship.” This, he thought, was innocuous enough. His profile did not disclose anything about his sexuality or the gender of his romantic partner. However, a non-scouting friend who did know about Bryant’s sexual orientation asked what should have been a friendly, innocent question: “Oh, good for you, man, what’s his name?”

Bryant reportedly deleted this and other similar comments as soon as he saw them but, as he is Facebook friends with a number of people who are also Scouts, he says he feared there was going to be a problem. He was right. Though he doesn’t know precisely who told the BSA, Bryant was later informed by BSA leaders that the offer of being among the leaders of the camp event was no longer on the table because Bryant’s social media indicated that he is gay.

The BSA, while highlighting that no job offer was ever put in writing, has since said that local officials have determined that Bryant now doesn’t meet employment criteria.

Protestations might arise that if you are part of the organization, you have to abide by its rules. Here’s the thing, though: Bryant did play by the rules. He specifically hid his sexuality so that he could go on being a part of the Scouts, but he was then inadvertently outed. At no point had he “injected his sexuality,” as the BSA have termed in the past, into his Scouting duties. Also, to gauge the damage that this policy is doing, I think it’s helpful to hear what Bryant told NBC about what happened:

“I viewed my sexuality as something I was going to keep private. It was my private life. I wasn’t going to share it with the BSA. They made an issue of my sexuality. I was perfectly content with staying in the closet with the Scouts.”

Bryant now says that, as he’s been part of the Scouts since he was 11, this slap in the face is like being disowned by his family. The problems surrounding this policy aren’t over for Bryant, either. While he can continue to be involved in the Scouts in some capacity until the age 21, he will then be classed as an adult and as a result must meet the adult employment criteria. That would of course exclude him on grounds that the BSA now believes he contravenes the regulation against “open or avowed” homosexuals.

Bryant, though, and with the support of his mom, has decided to fight the BSA on this by going public with his story. While it may mean that he will now never get a shot at being a leader in the organization that he loves, he wants to highlight how harmful — not to mention, arbitrary — the no gay adults rule is.

This case shows in no uncertain terms that the BSA is using a policy very similar to how the US Army hounded gay soldiers under Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Bryant never disclosed his sexuality — he wasn’t “open or avowed” — and yet one Facebook post by a friend was enough to terminate his chances of being employed as a leader. That’s not just disgusting, it’s chilling. Bryant says he was willing to stay in the closet. That demonstrates a kind loyalty that the BSA, in this regard, doesn’t deserve. It’s also a falsehood that shouldn’t be asked of someone so young.

Bryant isn’t the only fighting back against this ridiculous policy. Readers may remember the story of Geoff McGrath, a Seattle Eagle Scout whose Methodist church, knowing he is openly gay, asked him to set up a scouting troop. McGrath’s application sailed through until word got out that he’s gay. Then the BSA moved to boot him from that leadership role.

I’m glad to say that the church backing him has since refused to fire McGrath. The BSA then turned around and shut down the troop. The church has responded by saying that the group will continue to meet regardless of what the BSA says, essentially honoring the spirit of what the Boy Scouts is supposed to stand for, rather than the actions of its officials.

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Photo credit: Thinkstock.

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1:59PM PDT on Aug 6, 2014

I have never been hurt by a homosexual but I have been hurt by many heterosexuals. I find they are very peaceful and loving.

1:02PM PDT on May 13, 2014

cont- body. Eat the right foods and build your strength. Staying mentally awake means learn all you can, be curious, and ask questions. Being morally straight means to live your life with honesty, to be clean in your speech and actions, and to be a person of strong character.

1:00PM PDT on May 13, 2014

THIS IS THE BOY SCOUTS OATH and homosexuality is NOT COMPATIBLE WITH SCOUTING, this is the entire basis for scouts Boy Scout Oath or Promise

On my honor, I will do my best
To do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law;
To help other people at all times;
To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight.

Note that the Boy Scout Oath has traditionally been considered to have three promises. Those three promises are delineated by the semicolons in the Oath, which divide it into three clauses. The three promises of the Scout Oath are, therefore:

Duty to God and country,
Duty to other people, and
Duty to self

DUTY TO GOD AND COUNTRY: Your family and religious leaders teach you to know and serve God. By following these teachings, you do your duty to God.

Men and women of the past worked to make America great, and many gave their lives for their country. By being a good family member and a good citizen, by working for your country's good and obeying its laws, you do your duty to your country. Obeying the Scout Law means living by its 12 points.

DUTY TO OTHER PEOPLE: Many people need help. A cheery smile and a helping hand make life easier for others. By doing a Good Turn daily and helping when you're needed, you prove yourself a Scout and do your part to make this a better world.

DUTY TO SELF: Keeping yourself physically strong means taking care of your

1:30PM PDT on May 8, 2014

Thanks

8:14PM PDT on May 5, 2014

@Tim W, you never attacked anyone. That's one of the points or issues I have with this guy.

He wants to be able to go to any website and stamp his feet in anger about Gay people having any rights. He believes his magic book gives him the right to write his position in comments and any opposition of any kind is perceived as a personal attack where people are calling him names. It didn't happen. But he believes it did. Just like his faith, it is a tad delusional.

He apparently believes he has some god on his side and he can say what he wants without opposition or opposing views. It is okay for him to discriminate against gays, and in his view because his magic book says so, there shouldn't be any one opposed to him.

If there is any resistance, it means people are calling him names. He can be militant in discriminating against people who aren't like him but others cannot if they disagree with him. If he wanted to hear echoes of what he said he should go to a christian site that is engaged in gay bashing.

6:31PM PDT on May 5, 2014

I just read through this thread and all of my comments. I can't find what is being perceived as me attacking individuals. I do see where I have addressed individuals who commented and I pointed out why I disagreed with them. I am still not able to find where I called some one a liar.

If anyone is offended by my standing up for the rights of gay people, people such as myself...well I will not apologize for that. Some members think they can make insulting comments about gays, such as inferring that gay boys are not even boys and not consider that as an attack.

I have said that I am sorry if I offended anyone with my post. To be clear, I am sorry that I offended some one, but after going through my posts, I am not sorry for anything I wrote...except for a few type os maybe. When I speak about being gay I speak from experience, when some posters speak about being gay as if it were a choice, they base their words on second or third hand knowledge that is passed down through the ages with no basis for those beliefs other than a collection of old books which in original text never once mention homosexuality, but rather certain acts that can be attributed to homosexuality.

8:03AM PDT on May 5, 2014

“In America non-governmental entities have a right to set their own rules, criteria, on and on.”


And, in America we have a right to convince these non-governmental entities to change their position on previous beliefs they had a right to be bigoted and discriminatory, especially when they are based on a book of fairy tales. Freedom of and FROM religion, especially when it is bigoted and discriminatory.


http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/04/15/1292235/-Hank-Aaron-gets-a-new-ton-of-racist-hatemail-proving-his-point?detail=email

http://www.cnn.com/interactive/2014/04/us/hank-aaron-anniversary/?hpt=hp_c4

The above are examples of the way bigoted Americans have treated African-Americans. This is the same way that you and others have treated homosexuals. It’s time for you people to grow up, stop stamping your feet in angry tirades trying to enforce your belief’s which promote hatred and discrimination because you and your religion are homophobic.

8:01AM PDT on May 5, 2014

“When you act militant it really stops us from addressing the article.”

Yes, so stop acting militantly by insisting that god exists, and that your religious beliefs have anything to do with it, and that it even has to be part of the discussion.

“Billions upon billions of universes. None of us can know there is not a God.”

Now you claim that there are billions upon billions of universes. How can you claim that? It is only a theory of quantum physics that there is the likelihood that there are additional universes. There is yet no proof of it. None of us, especially people like you and your preacher friend can know there is a god or of the existence of billions of additional universes. It is only wishful thinking.

8:01AM PDT on May 5, 2014

“Is there a God? How can anyone say they know for sure there is not a God? Have any of us been past this atmosphere?”

I can respond as well by saying Is there a god? How can anyone say they know for sure there is a god? Your reference of stating that no one can know if there is a god because they haven’t been past the atmosphere? It doesn’t matter whether anyone has been past the atmosphere. According to (W)RonG his god is everywhere. The imagined situation that this sky fairy only lives in outer space is another of the delusional games played.

8:00AM PDT on May 5, 2014

Actually Peter, no one has called you names. If I called you Peter the Troll, or HomoHater Huey those would be examples of name calling.

When people refer to you as a bigot and a liar it is a characterization of your behavior that is being criticized. You are seen as acting in a way that is bigoted, or that you are engaging in lying. You don’t get to change the meaning of words.

When someone calls you a hater, a bigot or a liar, it is the same as you claiming that homosexuals are sinners. It isn’t name calling. You are making a judgment about the other persons behavior based on your assessment of their behavior. It is too bad that it hurts your delicate sensibilities but then you are stomping all over other people’s sensibilities without giving a thought to it.

Secondly if you believe (W)RonG has a right to bring his delusionary sky daddy into the conversation we also have a right to acknowledge that this delusionary sky daddy doesn’t exist. (W)RonG you claim has a right to shove his belief’s in our faces. Well guess what, we have a right to confront (W)RonG with reality by informing him that his beliefs don’t exist. Reality trumps belief any day.

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