FIUSM Student thoughts: Scout’s pride should extend to all identities

John Sutija / Contributing Writer


“I don’t know if all Boy Scouts are gays, they could probably tie the knot in, like, fifty different ways.” Bo Burnham begins his song “I’m Bo, Yo” with those lyrics, and while it may be fun to make jokes about the Boy Scouts of America, their short shorts, wacky handshakes and neckerchiefs all being  prime targets, the issue of homosexuality in the organization has always been a serious one.

In fact, it’s such a big issue it has its own Wikipedia page. And it’s an old one, going back to the organization’s founding. Over the last three years, though, the organization has changed several policies. In 2013, the decision to accept gay boys into the organization was made, and last month gay leaders were officially allowed. Of course, just because they weren’t officially allowed to be involved does not mean they weren’t – in many troops, the part of the charter prohibiting gay membership was simply ignored. These official decisions are just concessions by BSA leadership.

Regardless of how much of a victory for LGBT+ rights this may be, it is still a victory. By officially accepting openly gay members, the BSA has become a much healthier space for Queer boys. The initial inclusion of openly gay boys in 2013 was designed to lift a burden from their shoulders. However, if you’re from where I’m from in the Midwest, that wouldn’t be enough; accepting gay boys into a community run by evangelizing conservative Christians is worse than having them play straight. It makes them targets. Now gay boys can turn to people capable of understanding them.

With these steps, the LGBT+ movement has firmly rooted itself in the BSA, and the next big step should be clear: transgender Boy Scouts.

When someone defined female at birth decides to align with their inmost identity and then wants to join the Boy Scouts, what can they do? According to the BSA, go join the Girl Scouts. Akin to the exclusionary policies that kept gay boys from becoming scouts, the BSA officially does not accept transgendered individuals. However, the Girls Scouts do – gay, queer, and trans peoples are all welcome.

Less progressively minded people will argue that “girls” do not belong in the Boy Scouts. Except for the fact that these aren’t girls we’re talking about, they’re trans-boys, who are still boys. Moreover, that argument does not follow, since girls are allowed to join the Boy Scouts, and have been since 1998 when the Venture Crew program was founded.

All the framework is already in place for the Boy Scouts to reverse their stances on “non-traditional” memberships and fully become the organization they should be: welcoming all walks of life to help people realize their potential and teach them useful skills.


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