While the Girl Scouts have been very accepting of LGBT youth, the Boys Scouts of America are a completely different organization. With their strong ties to the Mormon Church, is it any surprise that the Boys Scouts do not permit openly gay scout leaders?
It seems the Scouts might be making a small step in the right direction, though, by agreeing to institute “No Name-Calling Week,” an anti-bullying program created by the Gay & Lesbian Support Eduction Network (GLSEN).
In a blog post about No-Name Calling Week, Scouting senior editor Bryan Wendell does not address any anti-LGBT slurs in particular, preferring to keep it to more general “Idiot! Retard! Geek!”
Still, Wendell does provide younger scouts with real antidotes to bullying behavior. Wendell writes: “Intervene whenever you hear an insulting name. This can be as simple as saying, ‘We don’t use that word in our troop.’ “
While this is all fine and dandy, GLSEN recommends that No Name-Calling Week actually take action against LGBT slurs at the high-school level, providing these educational materials. High-school-age Boy Scouts should have had to engage with these materials, but we doubt that happened.
GLSEN’S Executive Director Dr. Eliza Byard (left) told the Huffington Post she was happy the Boy Scouts participated in the anti-bullying program, but that that certainly didn’t do much to dispel the specter of their anti-gay policies.
“I’m delighted the Boy Scouts of America’s official publication is calling on its adult leaders to join with the tens of thousands of educators and other youth-serving professionals who are currently observing No Name-Calling Week in order to improve the lives of millions of youth,” Byard said. “However, the lessons of this week are not enough to counteract the overwhelmingly negative message sent to scouts by the Boy Scouts of America’s continuing anti-LGBT policies. The Boy Scouts of America must recognize that gay people can be—and are—positive contributors to its vision of building respectful and service-oriented leaders of tomorrow.”
Photo via RDECOM, Eliza Byard