Could a badge for “fierceness” be next?
The Associated Press is reporting that as of January 1, 2014, the Boy Scouts of America will officially lift their ban on gay scouts. The policy was approved during an annual BSA meeting back in May.
Most major organizations are standing firm with their support of the BSA, though some people uncomfortable with the change have defected to Trail Life USA, a new alternative to BSA that bans gay members outright.
However, the BSA is making very clear some of the limitations that will be placed on gay members. “Any sexual conduct, whether heterosexual or homosexual, by youth of Scouting age is contrary to the virtues of Scouting,” says one document. “No member may use Scouting to promote or advance any social or political position or agenda, including on the matter of sexual orientation.”
There are also other questions and concerns that are being dealt with via Q&A documents related to the coming change:
- On showering: “The adult leaders have the discretion to arrange private showering times and locations.”
- On sleeping arrangements: “If a Scout or parent of a Scout makes a request to not tent with another Scout, their wishes should be honored.”
- On marching in uniform in a gay pride parade: “Each youth member is free as an individual to express his or her thoughts or take action on political or social issues but must not use Scouting’s official uniforms and insignia when doing so.”
While there may be a few growing pains with the implementation of this new policy, the Boy Scouts of America are starting 2014 off on the right foot by making their organization inclusive to all youth, and should be commended.
As for Trail Life USA? For an organization to be founded in 2013 for the sole function of the exclusion of others is shameful. Let’s hope the BSA keeps their numbers up and sends Trail Life USA straight into oblivion right along with that antigay policy.