Support for teen Ryan Andresen, who was denied his Eagle Scout Award and subsequently kicked out of the Scouts because he was gay, includes an online petition with 350,000 signatures and, soon, an appearance on The Ellen Degeneres Show.
Reuters reports that Ryan will stop by Ellen this week to discuss his trials and tribulations with the Boy Scouts of America.
Andresen has been working towards becoming an Eagle Scout since he was six, though he will be ineligible when he turns 18 next week. He came out publicly in July in a mass letter to the troop in an attempt to stand up for a fellow scout who was being bullied.
Having been a victim of bullying himself, Ryan created a “Tolerance Wall” comprising of 288 tiles with messages of encouragement and acceptance at Joaquin Moraga Intermediate School, where he attended sixth to eight grade.
Joaquin Moraga’s principal, Joan Danilson, told the San Jose Mercury News that Ryan “had a hard time with bullying” while there and “wanted to come back and give that message of tolerance.” Ryan’s mother, Karen, said that his troop bullied him over the project, which was intended to earn him his Eagle Scout Award.
However, the Scoutmaster refused to sign the official paperwork. “His last words were ‘I’d rather resign than sign,’” said Karen Andresen. Then last week, Ryan was informed that he was no longer a Scout since he “does not agree to Scouting’s principle of ‘Duty to God’ and does not meet Scouting’s membership standard on sexual orientation.”
Karen Andresen claimed Ryan “never said that he does not believe in a higher power.”