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DEMERIT BADGE

Boy Scouts Plan To Kick Out Gay Teen On His Birthday, But Keep His Straight Twin

liam and august easton calabria boy scoutsThe Scouts really need to get their act together. For years, they’ve cruelly banned LGBT members; but even after they relaxed the policy last year to include gay youth, gay adults are still prohibited.

That’s led to ridiculous situations such as the one faced by twin brothers Liam and August Easton-Calabria. The Seattle-area teens have identical merit badges, but Liam is gay, so he’ll have to leave as soon as he hits with 21st birthday.

It’s nuts, obviously, that the organization would reject a guy who devoted a year of his life to it. Even crazier that a twin brother can remain, as if their sexuality makes any material difference.

But that’s the policy for now, and the Scouts show no sign of modernizing. In fact, the Boys Scouts of America have been downright loathsome about it. Last month, when they learned that a beloved troop leader was gay, Council leader Sharon Moulds claimed that he had “intentions to make a public statement about his orientation and use our program as a means to further a personal agenda.” That’s simply not true, and Moulds knew it. Troop Leader Geoffrey McGrath wasn’t using the program to further a personal agenda. He was using the program to mentor young kids, teach them skills and help them socialize with their peers. That’s pretty much the extent of his personal agenda.

Nevertheless, the Boy Scouts revoked the charter from the Methodist Church that sponsored the troop.

So what’s next for Liam? It sounds like he’s dedicated to fixing the Boy Scout policy. “I’m going to do as much as I can, to see my children in scouting with me involved,” he told a reporter. It took years of lobbying to get the scouts to allow gay kids; hopefully it won’t take as long to get them to finish their evolution.

By:           matt baume
On:           May 5, 2014
Tagged: , ,
  • 37 Comments
    • DK
      DK

      I don’t understand why gay people won’t leave the Boy Scouts to rot. Bigotry must be confronted, yes, but I don’t see the point of trying to bend irrelevant, private clubs to their will.

      May 5, 2014 at 1:22 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Kamuriie
      Kamuriie

      @DK: Largely, because the BSA receive public support in terms of public facilities they get to use, and benefit from, as well as public taxpayer support. There was a lawsuit filed to stop the DOD’s support of the boy scouts, which ended because of a determination of lack of standing, but they continue to receive public funding in a number of ways.

      May 5, 2014 at 1:53 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Cam
      Cam

      @DK:

      The BSA only claims it is a private club when it wants to avoid being taken to task for it’s bigotry. Other than that it is begging for public funds, public spaces etc…

      As for gay people bending it to THEIR will, funny, gay people just want to be allowed to live, it’s the boy scouts that want to bend gay people to THEIR will.

      May 5, 2014 at 1:58 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Ken
      Ken

      @DK: There are a number of reasons. Scouting begins before puberty, which means that scouts discover they are gay long after they are deeply involved. Scouting is also generational. My father, for instance, was an eagle scout, a professional scouter, and my scoutmaster when I was a scout. Then we discovered that scouting was homophobic. It was like eating a meal and afterwards discovering that the food is tainted.

      The BSA is chartered by Congress and the nominal head is the president of the United States. The courts found that it was only puffery and that the BSA was a private club entitled to bigotry.

      May 5, 2014 at 2:25 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Billy Budd
      Billy Budd

      I don’t think we should force all churches to perform gay weddings. It would be nice if that were possible, but this would force them to deny their most treasured dogmas, and they are still powerful and influential. It is an impossibility.

      We should let religions change by their own will, slowly, through the centuries (yes, it takes centuries for them to repent and apologize). There are already many religions that fully accept gay people.

      BUT if an institution receives funds or support from the government to perform its activities, I believe that this institution should work for the benefit of the public IN GENERAL, no matter the race, color, creed or sexuality of whom participates in it. If the government does not discriminate, they can’t discriminate either.

      That is my opinion.

      May 5, 2014 at 2:28 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Curtispsf
      Curtispsf

      All this “bending” of gay people is getting me very excited. Seriously, I have scouting to thank for one of my earliest gay experiences. Wilder than I could have imagined. Let’s just say that there were four very happy boy scouts in the tent I shared with 3 other boys.

      One day, these dinosaurs will be extinct and so will their antiquated ways of thinking. Until then, I say hold their feet to the fire as much as possible. This case of twin boys, one straight, the other gay is the best possible way of exposing their hypocrisy.

      Go scouts. Go boys. And camp it up while you’re at it !

      May 5, 2014 at 2:40 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Derek Williams
      Derek Williams

      @DK: Unfortunately that’s the deal when a minority “threatens to leave”, or actually leaves. No-one notices.

      Change from within needs to persist alongside public education.

      May 5, 2014 at 2:58 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • jazz4108
      jazz4108

      I agree. Instead of going after Mozilla CEO’s this is the group that we should be outraged with. They receive public money and use it to discriminate against others. So now you can be gay in the scouts until your 21. Is 21 the magic age where scouts start molesting other scouts. This organization needs outrage and the community to stand up and force them to change their archaic policies or see all funding pulled and let the scouts suffer a painful future until they realize there bigot ways.

      May 5, 2014 at 3:06 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Matt1961
      Matt1961

      @Kamuriie:

      The BSA receives no special treatment from government. Units must adhere to all of the same rules and regulations that any other not for profit group does when applying for a fair use permit for facilities. Most public facilities will not discriminate against the scout units as they are not the harbinger of bigotry we all think they are. Most units would gladly allow gay scouts and adults if that were the rule.

      The scouts cannot get any better deal on a facility than the next group, like boys / girls clubs, kiwanis, rotary, YMCA, etc. They’re just another youth or non profit seeking fair use.

      The changes that need to be made at the National level will only come from the chartered partners. The LDS Church holds considerable sway. It was their influence that brought on the changes made in May 2013. The Catholic church, Jewish faith, Episcopal Church, Methodist Church, Southern Baptist Convention, etc will all need to get on board with further change. over half of these have already expressed their desire to change and allow gay adults, it’s changing the stance of those other groups that is halting the progress.

      the BSA is a great institution, even with their prohibitions. The youth are taught to respect everyone, regardless of the national membership standards. don’t be to harsh on the youth and their leaders, most of them (me included obviously) want to see change made and soon.

      May 5, 2014 at 3:07 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Bad Ass Biker
      Bad Ass Biker

      As a kid I was in the scouts before I even knew what gay was. As it is, over the years, seeing them and their misguided bigotry, I have absolutely no use for them or anyone who adheres to them.

      May 5, 2014 at 3:15 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • samiinh
      samiinh

      @Curtispsf: I had a similar experience when I was a kid in scouting.

      May 5, 2014 at 4:12 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Maude
      Maude

      Wait a minute, did Liam, the gay one just say, “My children in scouting……….”?

      And don’t give me the bullshit that gays can have kids

      May 5, 2014 at 4:19 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Matt1961
      Matt1961

      @Maude: That’s what he said, why do you have an issue with that? If he decides to have children, why shouldn’t he want to have them in scouting?

      May 5, 2014 at 4:27 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • jckfmsincty
      jckfmsincty

      His twin brother isn’t quitting BSA out of protest?

      May 5, 2014 at 4:42 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Billy Budd
      Billy Budd

      Homosexuality in the German Youth movement (in the 1896-1940s period), which included the scouts and the Wandervogel, was WIDESPREAD. There are many books written about it. When you put young boys together away from their parents, in an all male environment, it is predicable and natural for the boys to “misbehave”.

      Maybe the scouts are so homophobic exactly BECAUSE the institution fosters homosexual experiences among youths. It is the same hypocrisy of the priests, who are always eager to molest little children but say that homosexuality is a sin.

      May 5, 2014 at 4:51 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Mezaien
      Mezaien

      It`s the Christian again! Ve Queerty, mezinim at a sechel lekulam. Beny zonot cemo call ha Nozrim.

      May 5, 2014 at 4:59 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • sangsue
      sangsue

      @Maude:

      I think he meant his troop (IE: his kids in scouting). But the possibility that he was married to a woman and had children with her is not bizarre.

      May 5, 2014 at 5:28 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Zane Rhoades
      Zane Rhoades

      The youth are NOT taught to respect everyone…” when the LEADERS of the organization declare that there are groups of people who are unworthy of membership Who ELSE should the youth look to, than the ones who run the organization and make the rules?! Are the youth of the Boy Scouts supposed to “Do as I say, but not as I do”? Are the youth supposed to respect everyone, or are they supposed to respect everyone – EXCEPT …?

      Why would you want to be part of any organization which would not welcome you as a member?

      May 5, 2014 at 5:34 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • money718
      money718

      Wow. In the Boy Scout @21 y/o?

      May 5, 2014 at 5:47 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Kieran
      Kieran

      If this were happening in Russia or Uganda we’d be shaking our heads saying, “Aren’t they backward over there?”

      May 5, 2014 at 5:53 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Billy Budd
      Billy Budd

      ……Anyway, the whole scouting movement goes back to around 1907 — right in the middle of all this — and was started by Lord Baden-Powell. And as much as anyone from that era, he was obsessed with stopping boys from masturbating.

      Oh, and he was sort of crazy. Baden-Powell seemed to struggle with his own sexuality, spending a lot of time admiring the physical form of men and obsessing over the development of boys. When he finally married at age 55, he refused to sleep in the same bed as a woman, choosing to sleep out on his balcony instead. When it came to his advice about sex and the ultimate destructive evil of self-abuse, he, uh, had a way of phrasing things. He advised that young men should “bathe the racial organ in cold water daily.” In the landmark scouting manual Scouting for Boys: A Handbook for Instruction in Good Citizenship, Powell included warnings against masturbation so graphic that the publisher forced him to cut them (they were restored in later editions).
      So what did he think would save his boys from such a horrific vice? Powell’s advice followed the thinking of the day, saying that bathing and “exercising the upper part of the body by arm exercises, boxing, etc.” would make the urge go away, along with the practice he referred to as “rovering,” which was keeping yourself busy with hiking and other outdoorsy things. In his book Rovering to Success, he goes on the usual screed against the health effects of masturbation, then says:

      “Young fellows in the rutting stage are apt to get together and tell smutty stories and look at lewd pictures … If you carry out Rovering, you will find lots to do in the way of hiking and the enjoyment of the out-of-door manly activities. To get rid of the bad you must put something good in its place.”
      Yes, you’ll recognize his anti-masturbation program as pretty much everything Scouts do other than tying knots. No doubt he thought all of those things had other benefits, too, but make no mistake: This was a guy with masturbation on the brain.

      http://www.cracked.com/article_19520_5-insane-ways-fear-masturbation-shaped-modern-world_p2.html

      May 5, 2014 at 6:04 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Captain Obvious
      Captain Obvious

      First and foremost… if you’re a white gay male please stop claiming to be a minority. It’s extremely silly.

      This constant complaining about the Boy Scouts is looking really pathetic. They’re one group and they don’t have to let us in. Would you bitch all day if the KKK wouldn’t let us join? Do you think they would? Do you even want to?

      I find it awfully ironic that a group like ours which has it’s own racial and masculine versus feminine issues is constantly whining and complaining every single time something can’t and won’t go our way. So what a grown ass man can’t be a Boy Scout. Boo freaking hoo.

      Know what that ADULT MAN wearing a little boy uniform could do instead? Start his own group of people who do whatever it is that Boy Scouts do. I’m sure there are plenty of organizations that are interested in community service and helping others.

      Considering how often so many gay people claim that this “fight” is the same as the fight for civil rights you’d think they’d take a page from what blacks did in America. If you couldn’t join the whites only groups then you started your own group.

      Sitting around whining and giving attention to the PROBLEM rather than finding a solution is not how you create change in your community let alone the world.

      Stop talking about the problem and do something. Pick a cute bird or some other animal and add Scout to the end. Start inviting others to join. Problem solved. No whining necessary.

      Those lil 99 cent store badges are not worth crying about. Light a few farts on them and give them back to the bigots who don’t want you in their silly group.

      You can learn how to clean a fish, tie a knot, and start a fire on the internet. Thanks, Youtube.

      Dry those tears, it’s not that serious. Meanwhile in other parts of our country there are people literally voting against our rights, teens committing suicide because they have no support system in which to come out, and well we’re still finding ourselves as a “group” because we’re still terribly segregated with way too many chiefs who don’t have a grain of sense. There are way more pressing issues than a private group refusing to let you stay once they find out you’re gay. They do not have to let you join… learn to pick your battles.

      May 5, 2014 at 6:43 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Throbert McGee
      Throbert McGee

      Troop Leader Geoffrey McGrath wasn’t using the program to further a personal agenda.

      It’s quite possibly true that Geoffrey McGrath wasn’t using the BSA program as a platform for his personal political agenda.

      Overall, I think that most gay men who reach the Eagle Scout level (making them theoretically eligible to be Scoutmasters) are likely to be more socially conservative (and certainly much more principled) than the average drones in the LGBT Hive-Mind, and most of them would be unlikely to smuggle their political grievances into the Scout program or try to “recruit” gay and straight Boy Scouts as foot-soldiers in a cultural/political proxy war between liberal Episcopalians and conservative Mormons, or between donkeys and elephants.

      However, it would be hilariously delusional (or even a brazen lie) to claim that NO gay Scoutmasters would try to pull that kind of crap if the BSA lifted the general ban on openly gay adult men.

      Because, to be blunt, significant portions of the LGBT Community really are passive-aggressive Fundamentalist Gayvangelicals who see nothing wrong with adult leaders proselytizing to a captive audience of minors, because waaaaaah, we’re oppressed, and anyways it was the mean ol’ Christians who STARTED it, waaaaaaah.

      I don’t blame the BSA one bit for wanting the gay male community to do some internal policing and clean up its act just a tad before any decision is made on lifting the gay-scoutmaster ban.

      May 5, 2014 at 6:58 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Throbert McGee
      Throbert McGee

      Wait a minute, did Liam, the gay one just say, “My children in scouting……….”?

      I assume he meant that he plans to become a foster/adoptive parent someday.

      May 5, 2014 at 7:11 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Throbert McGee
      Throbert McGee

      By the way, the season 5 South Park episode Cripple Fight is all about this “ban on gay scoutmasters” issue — and Big Gay Al, as always, proves that he’s a heroic Mensch, and not a f*g in any sense.

      Seriously, anyone who hasn’t seen the episode (or if you haven’t seen it in a while) might want to watch it online at the above link, think about it a bit, and then weigh in on the thread.

      May 5, 2014 at 7:27 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • esemple
      esemple

      Boy Scouts is a sick organization and sets a bad example for youth.

      May 5, 2014 at 7:49 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Pix
      Pix

      Campfire USA shows that gays aren’t going to indoctrinate children and the other silliness I’ve seen asserted in this thread.

      Speaking of which, Campfire USA is, as far as I can tell, far better than the Scouts anyway.

      May 5, 2014 at 8:15 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Matt1961
      Matt1961

      @Throbert McGee: Requirments to be a scoutmaster: 1. be 21 years old or older. 2. be a registered member of the BSA. 3. Be approved by your chartered organization. 4. Be trained in youth protection protocols. There is not a requirement to be an Eagle Scout, that is an honor earned by the youth that gives them bragging rights to for the rest of their years.

      May 5, 2014 at 8:17 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Throbert McGee
      Throbert McGee

      Thanks for the clarification, Matt1961.

      May 5, 2014 at 8:53 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • mezzacanadese
      mezzacanadese

      This is preposterous! The fact that Liam is gay has nothing to do with his contribution to the Scouts. Something has got to be done about this blatant discrimination.

      May 5, 2014 at 9:29 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • jasentylar
      jasentylar

      @Captain Obvious: BEST. RESPONSE. EVER.

      May 5, 2014 at 9:52 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Throbert McGee
      Throbert McGee

      @Kieran:

      If this were happening in Russia or Uganda we’d be shaking our heads saying, “Aren’t they backward over there?”

      What do you mean “we,” white man?

      If this were happening in Russia (knock wood), I’d be saying:

      “Go Russians, it’s your birfday, go Russians, go Russians! It turns out that you’re much less homophobic than some people in Pindostan believe — good for you that your scouting/pioneer programs are officially open to gay boys, but also good for you that you’re skeptical about allowing openly gay men to be scoutmasters just because that’s the politically correct fad in the West.”

      If this were happening in Uganda, I’d be saying:

      “Wow, barring openly gay men from being scoutmasters is a huge improvement over your previous policy of executing them and arresting heterosexuals who don’t squeal on their LGBT neighbors — keep up the good work!”

      May 6, 2014 at 12:41 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • gaym50ish
      gaym50ish

      Since the Supreme Court ruled that BSA was a “private organization” and not a “public accommodation,” they have the right to discriminate against anyone for any reason. How the court could have ruled that way is a mystery, given the fact that the President of the U.S. is the honorary president of the scouts and they were making extensive of government facilities at the time. As recently as 2010, they were holding their annual Jamboree at the U.S. Army’s Fort A.P. Hill in Virginia, although they now hold it on private property. They have lost the use of a lot of public facilities, not to mention United Way dollars.

      I wonder how many BSA leaders know that Lord Baden-Powell, who founded the Boy Scouts, was most likely gay — albeit closeted, which was quite necessary in his day. In an op-ed piece for the New York Times, Brooke Allen, a literature professor at Bennington College, wrote that Baden-Powell was “a sensitive boy who liked playing with dolls, and as he grew into a young man he formed deep attachments to other boys. Once in the army he made a name for himself playing female roles in army theatricals.”

      Baden-Powell had a close emotional attachment to a fellow officer in the British Army. He didn’t marry until he was 55, and even then he disliked sharing a bed with his beautiful wife. The sexual repression of his day would have prevented him from endorsing any inclusion of openly homosexual boys or adult leaders in his organization, but in our more enlightened 21st-century American society, it’s unfortunate that the Scouts cling to the same repression of gays that their founder suffered from.

      May 6, 2014 at 5:57 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • JohnCBriggs
      JohnCBriggs

      Here in Boston, we are able to run boyscout troops that openly include gays both among the scouts and the leadership. The bad behavior at the National level is going to be difficult to fix due to a high percentage of religious conservatives in the national leadership. This might take one more generation.

      I would like to suggest a shift of focus to call-out the local leadership that is enforcing National’s rules. This discrimination cannot occur without local support, and I think that these are the people that need to get the message. After all, National doesn’t know if we have a gay leader locally, they require us local leaders to report them. Here in Boston, we would never do that. Let the local leadership know that their behavior is enabling National’s bad policy. This battle can be fought and won from within the Boy Scouts.

      There is set of “safe scouting” rules designed to protect scouts that need to be followed very carefully. Never let a single scout be alone with a single adult (unless it is the scout’s parent). These rules are not there because of the gay issue, it is basic child protection which, unfortunately, will always be an issue that we have to deal with. We can deal with it well, or we can deal with it poorly (cough, catholic leadership, cough), but deal with it we must. These are our children after all. Gay, straight, whatever…they are our children and we need to protect them.

      May 6, 2014 at 8:55 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Rusty
      Rusty

      @Captain Obvious: I absolutely agree.

      May 7, 2014 at 1:01 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Alton
      Alton

      As someone else said, the Boy Scouts are only a “private club” when it suits their discriminatory purposes. As long as they are publicly subsidized, we have a right to demand that they refrain from indoctrinating bigotry into young boys on our dime. Oh, sorry…apparently, for some on this thread, the only indoctrination that’s BAD is gay men telling kids not to discriminate.

      What a remarkably asinine notion to spew on a queer-oriented website.

      Oh, and Captain Obvious: it should be obvious to ANYONE that being gay IS to be part of a minority, and a persecuted one at that. I can give you the names of dozens of people I know who have been kicked out of their homes, jobs, and families, if you’d like more information on what it means to be a victim.

      May 7, 2014 at 9:14 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • JohnCBriggs
      JohnCBriggs

      I’m not defending BSA, but the notion that they are publicly funded does not seem to be correct. As someone associated with a troop in Boston, I can tell you that 100% of the troop money comes from fund raising by the scouts themselves. There is not federal money at the troop level, and no corporate sponsorship (although sometimes a local ice cream shop or such will contribute goods to an event).

      Just trying to correct the record and not defend the bad policies of the BSA.

      As far as the Scouts “indoctrinating” anyone, this all comes down to the local leadership. In our case, issues of sexuality are not discussed at Scouting events (although the oath does have the dreaded “morally straight” thing in it which could be debated). We have both straight and gay leaders, neither of which talk about their sexuality.

      Honestly, we have more issues with people accepting female leaders (gay, straight, whatever) than homosexual ones.

      May 7, 2014 at 9:38 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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