The Boy Scouts of America have come a long way in the last year, and this week marks another milestone in the century-old organization’s crawl towards acceptance — the first openly gay scout to make Eagle Scout rank.
If, like me, you spent more time as a tyke learning to tie braids than to tie knots, Eagle Scout is the highest rank you can achieve, and is kind of a big deal in the scouting world. Pascal Tessier, 17 from Chevy Chase, MD Troop 52 (one of the nation’s oldest troops) earned the honor Monday only weeks after the Scouts finally lifted the ban on gay youth (next hurdle is allowing gay adults).
Tessier’s achievement was met with massive support from his community, a sign that the Scouts are way behind the times, but nonetheless encouraging. And he deserves every accolade, having risked all the work he has invested in the Scouts by publicly advocating against the gay ban.
‘‘Even if I had been kicked out along the way, I wouldn’t have changed anything,’’ he said. ‘‘The whole experience was something worth having, not only for myself but also for all the other people involved — and for all the people it affects.’’
So what’s next for Tessier now that he’s reached the top of the ranks? ‘‘On my 18th birthday, I’m planning on applying to be an adult leader for the Boy Scouts so that we push the issue.”
Go get ’em, tiger.