Disney recently pulled its funding of Boy Scouts of America because the organization continues to ban gay Scout leaders. With all the recent coverage, I thought I'd take a moment to explain why people shouldn't worry about gay Scout leaders.

My son is a Boy Scout. My husband is involved in scouting too. We aren't the super-devoted Scout family of three generations, but we enjoy it. Due to the Boy Scouts of America's (BSA) policy on gay members and leaders, allowing my son to join was not an easy decision. I felt like I was supporting discrimination.

And I suppose in a way we are. I wrote about the decision here.

Last year, BSA lifted their ban on gay youth, but their ban on gay leaders remains. Gay parents cannot lead troops or packs, and gay members can no longer be members after they turn 18. Recently, in opposition to this policy, Disney pulled their financial support (effective 2015) of the organization. On the one hand, I hate seeing funds pulled from an organization providing valuable service to boys. On other hand, I appreciate the pressure placed on BSA to change their policy.

The recent media coverage got me thinking about the whole thing, wondering how it is people could have such a problem with gay Scout leaders. So I thought I'd write something to the people who are freaked out about the thought of a gay Scout leader.

Here are 5 reasons you needn't worry, people.

  1. As a straight woman, are you attracted to young boys? Did that make your stomach turn? Exactly.

    Gay does not mean "pedophile." Though I feel a little stupid writing something so obvious, my travels around the internet have made it clear that some people seem to think gay Scout leaders are more likely to sexually abuse their sons than straight men. Now, this is weird. This is weird because "homosexual" does not mean "abuser." Consensual sex between two adults — whether or not they are of the same sex — has absolutely nothing to do with the sexual abuse of a child. I get it. You might think gay equals "sexually deviant" and therefore, there's just no telling what they'll do. But studies have proven that "homosexual men are not more likely to sexually abuse children than heterosexual men are" (source). Oh, and then of course there's the "same sex" situation. As in, man is attracted to other men therefore he is more likely to be attracted to boys. Well let me ask you something: As a straight woman, are you attracted to young boys? Did that make your stomach turn? Exactly.

  2. You can't catch gay. I know. You might think "gay" is wrong. Maybe you think people "choose" to be gay and therefore they are sinning. This confuses me because I can't recall the time I "chose" to be heterosexual. You might want to ask yourself the day you made the conscious decision to be straight. And then get back to me when you remember. I'll be here. And then, ask yourself if you've ever felt significant physical attraction to a member of the same sex, like ever. By "significant" I mean: want to have sex with. Has anything ever swayed your sexuality before? Exactly. Do you really think that weekly contact with a gay man (or woman) would make your kid gay? If you just answered "yes" I think you should stop reading. There's no hope for you.

  3. Love the "sinners!" Let's say gay people are "sinners." Let's assume you're right: They've made an "immoral" choice in regards to their sexual life (though I'm trying to figure out who exactly they're hurting and what danger they pose to others, but I digress). Does that mean they lack all value? Does that mean they have nothing at all whatsoever to offer? And speaking of "sinning," what about that whole "judge not" thing: "Judge not, that ye be not judged" (source). Are you perfect? Are you "spotless" before your God? Because the "most perfect" dude in the world (Jesus) advocated not judging people. Come to think of it, he hung out with prostitutes. So maybe, just maybe, you should show love, tolerance and acceptance to the people who are "sinning," because, if nothing else, we are too.

  4. If you really want your kid to "stand strong in the world," the first thing you have to do is let them into the world.

    Sheltering kids doesn't work anyway. I know you're worried about exposing your kids to "immoral people." Well, do you plan on allowing them to go to school? High school? Leave home someday? Enter the workforce? Do anything at all anywhere? Yes, right? Then I hate to break it to you but your kid is going to be "exposed" to all kinds of people doing all kinds of "immoral" things for the rest of his life. How is sheltering a child from people who live differently preparing him to handle people who live differently? How the hell does this help, "Hey kid I'm going to teach you to have a 'strong moral compass' against a totally immoral world by sheltering you from all that I find immoral?" How does that give a kid any tools whatsoever? If you really want your kid to "stand strong in the world," the first thing you have to do is let them into the world.

  5. Sexuality doesn't define a human, does it? I know what you're thinking: "But Scouts are young and impressionable. They can't reason away the immorality of a gay leader. They can't handle it." And here, you are absolutely right: Kids cannot "reason away the immorality" because they don't see it. They can't "handle" the "sin" because sexuality is not what makes a person a person. You know what young kids see? Humans. Probably a friendly, engaged man interested in scouting stuff (like most Scout leaders).

You know what young kids see? Humans.

The assumption that a "gay Scout leader" is just that and only that is ridiculous. Is your sole identity "hetero?" Is that all you have to offer? Do you walk around talking all day about your sexuality, or is it just one part of the many facets of your self? In other words, the idea that a Scout leader who happened to be gay would sit around all day "being gay" and nothing else is absolutely ridiculous. In fact, I don't really see why or how sexuality would come up at all during scouting events. And when (if) it does come up, why wouldn't you teach your son about difference, and tolerance, and acceptance? Isn't that the Christian way?

Isn't that the way of scouting?

Author's Note^ Just to clarify, these ideas about gay people "sinning" and acting immorally could not be further from my own convictions. I was attempting to embody and respond to attitudes I've encountered toward homosexuals. Personally, I don't care if my kids are gay, don't think it's a sin or any other form of deviance and the only people I'm teaching my kids to "stand against" are the bigots who think people don't deserve equal rights, access or acceptance because they live differently than they do.

More on the Boy Scouts issue

I'm glad my boys don't want to be Boy Scouts
I'll still let my boys be Boy Scouts... for now
Boy Scouts and bigotry

Photo credit: Inti St Clair/Blend Images/Getty Images

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