Use My Voice

Speaking up about the issues I can't get out of my head or heart.

A Great First Step

on May 29, 2013

If you have read my blog for awhile or if you are my real life friend you know that Cub Scouts (now Boy Scouts) is a big part of my family’s life. You also know that after the BSA reaffirmed their decision to ban any openly gay person from participating or serving in anyway my husband and I began to question if this was still the right group for our family. We struggled with the ideas of staying and fighting for what we believe in and leaving because we did not want to condone discrimination. Last month the BSA made a very big decision. Openly gay young men are now allowed to participate in Boy Scouts. This is a really big deal. This is a huge first step in the push for acceptance and equality. It is not what we want to see in the end but it is a big first step. I think about it like teaching your child to read. You celebrate when they finish their first “I Can Read Book”. They have archived something important. But you don’t stop there. You know your child has to read beyond this level or they will stop growing. The same thing is true with the BSA. They have made a great first step. However, this can not be their last step or they will not grow. Soon they will have openly gay Eagle Scouts and are they going to turn them away the day they turn 18 and say they no longer have anything to offer the world of scouting? Are they going to continue to tell the scout whose parents are the same gender that his family can not be as fully involved as the boy’s whose parents are not? The questions will need to be answered soon.

So what does this first step decision mean for my family? It means for now we stay. We are staying for several reasons. First, I want the BSA to know we are proud of their first step. I worry that if we left now we would be confused with the people who are leaving because they disagree with their decision. Another reason we will stay for now is that I want to teach my children that sometimes you need to fight for what you believe from the inside. If everyone who was in favor of equality and inclusion left what motivation would the BSA have to change. It would be very easy to say, “Our members are ok with our decision” As long as my family is part of the BSA they will not be able to say that.

I don’t know how long we will stay. We have discussed the subject with our oldest and he knows how we feel and why we considered leaving and why we are staying. We have also starting to get our boys involved in other things in addition to Scouts in case we do make the decision to leave at some point. For this year we stay and make sure that when people as us how we feel about the decision we tell them we are proud of the BSA for taking this first step and that we look forward to the day that full acceptance is achieved.


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