Ban, Shman: Minnesota Boy Scouts Council Welcomes Gays

The Boy Scouts may have given a big thumbs-down to inclusion recently, but some forward-thinkers in Minnesota don’t care: “Our commitment has been to reach out to all young people and have a positive influence,” says a spokesman for the 75,000-member Northern Star Council, a regional organization that has openly welcomed gays since 2000.

For some perspective, that’s the same time Destiny’s Child released “Say My Name.” Feels like a million years ago, doesn’t it?

But that inclusive policy doesn’t cover all Minnesotans. The neighboring Twin Valley Council says that it plan to boot any homos it finds within its ranks. “We just follow national policy. We don’t try to create our own policy,”  said Paul Wilkinson, head of the Twin Valley Council. Wilkinson added that homosexuality has never really been a topic of conversation.

Gee, who’d have guessed persecuting a group is a great way to scare them into silence?

Meanwhile, one mother (who asked to stay anonymous) defended the ban: “They’re trying to protect the boys,” she explained, “making people feel comfortable when you send a boy on a trip.”

Right, because telling young boys that there’s something fundamentally wrong about them that they have to keep secret is an excellent way to make them feel comfortable.

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  • James

    I want to say first. I was in the Boy Scouts of America my entire adolescent life. Cubs scout to Eagle and beyond. Everyone knew I was gay. Hell if it hadn’t been for boyscouts I might never have discovered I am gay. (take that however you want to) I made the longest lasting male friendships gay, straight and bisexual with men i can honestly say to this day that i Love. Yes i love them all. Some are friends some are brothers and some were even lovers. We were all there for each other through everything. We were there when someone needed help with scouting life or real life. when someone just needed a friend. Some talked about thier first girl friends a few of us talked about or first man crushes. someof us talked about both. Butmost importantly we were boys who all grew together as men. the worst thing to happen to BofA was the mothers getting more involved. They had to “protect” their little boys from the big bad world. when it wass just dads showing us the ropes we were allowed to grow organicaly and naturaly in a controled and safe environment. When boys are together things are gonna happen. this is for all those mothers who think little johney would never do something wrong. he was always the first one that did. But the men had it handled. when things went to far the dads would step in and settle things down. We ate together, we hiked and campe together, we grew together as men in a male environment. Contrary to what some un-enlightened people might believe we realy were taught to be “Trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient,cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent.” We were taught about Strength of character and what personality realy was. We were taught not only what “right from wrong” meant but how to truly recognize the difference. Above all else we were shown that it was perfectly ok for two or more men to express the emotion of love to wards each other withought feeling any shame, however that love may take form. we were taught never to judge anyone. We were taught that if we saw someone who was in need, regardless of what that need might be, you didnt waite for the “right” person to come along and help them, you made yourself be the “right” person and you stepped up and did what all men should do. you were a man. wether that ment helping a fellow scout climb that mountain he was terrified of or makeing sure the guys on the other team could tie a safety knot just as well as any guy on your team, safety knot. Or just being there when tims dad died and he couldnt stop crying and feeling ashamed that he couldnt stop. Letting him know that he was no less of a man for crying but more of one for doeing it in front of his friends and brothers.

    Im sorry but it makes me angry, this whole gay and straight thing in the Boy scouts of America. Young gay boys and men need strong real men in their lives to. not to change them to straight or to fix them but to teach them how to become strong, supportive, compasionate and loveing successful men in tieir own rights. Regardless of sexuality. Who you are sexualy drawn to doesnt define you as a man or even as a person. it is only a matter of organics. What defines you as a Man, Real Man, Macho Man or any kind of man thats worth a damn is not how the world sees you but rather how you are seen to see the world. When a real man looks at another man he isnt impressed by his action so much as his reasons for those actions. remember that. Anyone can choose to feed a starving child. The question is, did you do it because the child was hungry or because you wanted people to see you do the right thing. A real man does the right thing when no one is there to see it. That is what the boy scouts of america taught me. and i hope that someday when me and my very gay, real man partner decide to adopt a son that the Boy Scouts of America will do for him what it did for me. Oh, and I am sorry mothers. i know you are going to take this the wrong way but instead of being a “Scout Mom” let your son go and learn how to be a man from men. if he doesnt have a father of his own thats fine. One of the other fathers will take him in and teach hime what he needs to know. All the other fathers will take him in as their own son and all the other young boys and young men will accept him as either a younger brother or and older one who they can not only teach things to but who will in turn teach them something they couldnt learn from any other guy. That is who the man he will become is gonna be. With you moms there, “Protecting” us from ourselfes and each other we loose out on very important developmental moments that no woman should try to be a part of. Just like a man shouldnt have to try and explain being a “woman” to a young girl a boy shouldnt be learning certain things from his mommy. I love my mother and she was always very active as a scout mom. In the places where her presence was appropriate and needed adn wanted. At the Fund raisers, birthday parties and other such things. But no young man should have to worry about his mother overhearing him talk or ask questions about his first erection or the hair under his arms or his extreme confusion about suzzy the girl next door. Moms absolutly love to know these things about their sons but ultimatly they will find a very inapopriate moment in time to either mention it or attempt to use it against him. the only reason a father wants to know these things is from pride in knowing his son is becoming a man. My father couldnt be there for me. but i had the other dads and the older boys to teach and guide me. I didnt turn out gay because my dad wasnt a part of my life. I sure as hell didnt turn out gay because one of the other dads or older boys ever did anything that they shouldnt have done. I turned out gay because my organics are programed differently than little johneys. its that simple. You being there is not going to protect your son from the big bad wolf. I thank god every day of my life for those dads and brothers and friends and so forth from the Boyscouts of America. They truly helped to shape and mold the successful, happy, welladjusted and confident man that i am today. I wouldnt be here if it werent for them. I woudlnt be here if my mother hednt been smart enough and strong enough to realize that no matter how much she loves me there were some things i could only learn from or talk to other men about. Thank you mom. Thank you for teaching me that its ok to do the right thing and thank you Boyscouts of America for teaching me what the right thing means.

  • David

    Please re-read the original Star Tribune article( No where in there does the council state that gay youth (openly gay or otherwise) are permitted in the organization. It is the reporter who writes this, with nothing to support her statement.

    The council says that they are “inclusive,” and even have a “policy” (, but it NEVER says that they will accept gay youth.

    It’s a con game and another lie from the BSA. Just call the council to see if they will allow an openly gay boy to join. Bet you they’ll say no!

  • bystander

    Seems like you’ll never be able to get rid of or change some organizations. (the KKK is still around after all) The best you can do it set up alternative inclusive organizations and make intolerate organizations irrelevant. Is there any effort to encourage gay and gay-supporting scouts and leaders to leave the BSoA and form another organization?

  • Geoff B

    [email protected]James: It sounds like you really did have a great experience with your time in the Scouts and for that I really am happy for you, but you must realize your experience is the exception rather than the norm. An organization that specifically excludes certain minorities is not a healthy or safe place to be for most said minorities. I hope someday the scouts come around but until then I won’t support them and will encourage others not to support them either.

  • Dave

    Like James, I am gay and was a scout. I too have fond memories of the scouts, but I remember that they didn’t like PANSY’S as they called it, and as naive as I was, I didn’t know what they meant, so I went out and played as usual, it didn’t seem to me that they were talking to us kids, it was adult talk. I do think that the organization is much different than when I was there 40 years ago. I evolved healthy as James did, but the world is much different now. I do not judge the scouts by their actions in the past, I judge them by their actions now. The organization has to adapt to change in many ways, or be left behind. My son (now 30) never wanted to be a part of the scouts. According to him it was too boring, too clickish and too much time away from his baseball practice/games, and too much time away from his newly developed video games and friends that played on said video games. Kids have so many more options these days; scouting is not their focus as much as it was when I was young. The focus on scouting really seems to come from us old farts, wanting our kids to be just like us. Take it from a parent, our kids don’t want to be like us, they want to be like themselves.

  • Tim

    It seems more like a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy from the Star Tribune article.

  • Aaron5151

    —What an horrible injustice to boys all across these contiguous United States. Just at the time in our boys lives when they need individual counsel and guidance for their Spiritual, Mental & Physical development, they are limited to bigoted,ignorant,hateful and hostile rhetoric that is 102 years old. No wonder the proverbial closet is full and running over with men that are dads and grandads in every level and position in our society, that are afraid to discuss or allow their wives, relatives and coworkers know about their true sexuality!!! In God’s name who are these boys going to get help from in understanding their desire for a same sex relationship…the cruisers, raspiest and the perverts of our society?
    —If in fact The Boy Scouts Of America are going to adhere too and maintain their 102 year old position of their leaders and troops being “Morally Straight”…The BSA should immediately eliminate every male Leader that has been: divorced, separated from his wife, uses tobacco, drinks alcohol, convicted of a crime,uses explicative’s, lies, cheats, steals…and whom has not maintained a perfect church attendance since he has entered Scouting.
    —Shouldn’t that be the qualifier for BSA Leaders, according to their own Code of ethics?

  • John Scouter

    I just want to say that there are gay Scouts/Leaders in the Northern Star Council, and I truly believe that the staff would NEVER remove them because of their orientation. This group’s policy is written to express its beliefs without stepping on the toes of the National BSA.

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