Well, I must say I’m impressed, and cautiously optimistic – the Boy Scouts of America seems to be seriously considering changing its policy on gay members.
I got an email from them this week asking for my feedback on the policy, as an “alumni of Scouting.” The survey they linked me to asked detailed questions on how I would feel about specific scenarios that might result from a change in policy. Even more impressive, there was a section for open-ended responses. Here are two of the questions and my answers:
1) What is your greatest concern if the policy remains in place and openly gay youth and adults are prohibited from joining Scouting? (Please be specific.)
I responded: My concern is that wonderful scouts and scout leaders will be denied participation in a wonderful program, simply because of an outdated social bias. And I think that the individuals denied participation, as well as the BSA, will be worse off because they weren’t allowed to benefit from each other.
2) What is your greatest concern if the policy is changed to allow charter organizations to make their own decisions to admit openly gay Scouts and leaders? (Please be specific.)
I responded: My concern is that the charter organizations who would be most likely to discriminate would be those in parts of the nation where anti-gay discrimination is at its worst, and therefore the gay scouts and scout leaders who most needed the BSA’s support would be the least likely to get it.
The point of a nationwide change in BSA policy isn’t, in my mind, to accept gay scouts and scout leaders only in areas where people are already of an accepting mindset. The point is to do the right thing, to be convinced of what that is, and to *lead others to do it too.* That’s what the Boy Scouts are all about.
So keep your fingers crossed, friends. And keep signing petitions and writing letters, if you can. This is a serious opportunity to change something for the better.