My soon-to-be-kindergartener recently asked me if he gets to be in Boy Scouts when he's in kindergarten.
I bit my tongue long enough to avoid the diatribe. I drew a little blood. Instead I just told him he could be in something like
Boy Scouts, but not Boy Scouts specifically, because they don't let gay people be in Boy Scouts, and I think that's mean.
Inevitably, his next question, "What's gay?"
I told him it's when a family has two daddies or two mommies that live together with their kid. (Trying to differentiate here between kids with gay parents and kids with two dads or two moms because of remarriage. We'll get into single gay parents later.) Anyway, he pouted that just because gay people can't be in Boy Scouts, why should that mean he
I knew we'd have this convo someday and that I'd break his little heart with it. But I've compromised on lots of things, like letting him eat hot dogs (gross) and watch TV shows I never would have been allowed to as a kid. I might throw up a little
a lot in my mouth if I had to take him to Boy Scout meetings, and Jesus do I hate throwing up.
But seriously, 50 years from now, when DADT seems like a quaint but ugly relic of
the past, and the Boy Scouts is led by a gay guy, and, hell, Catholic priests can marry their same-sex partners in a public ceremony, sacraments and all,I want my
kid to be the
one bragging to his friends about how his parents didn't let him be a
Scout way back when they wouldn't let gay people in. And then I want them all to roll their eyes and shake their heads about how there were once these huge institutions that didn't let gay people in and can you believe it?
I'm expecting the pressure on this issue to crank up over the next couple of years on the home front. Other boys will come to school in their scout uniforms, talk about their scout camping trips, show off their badges or whatever. I have to have something in place for my kid now, something he can get so keyed up about that Boy Scouts doesn't matter. Preferably it's something with a cool uniform and a cool name.
I'm just looking into this now so I'd appreciate some feedback from you guys, if you know any groups that do Boy Scout type stuff without the discrimination. I also found this, which could be useful.
Work your way to the bottom of the page for alternatives to Boy Scouts, but not before reading about all the cool ways different groups, cities, grant funders, etc are kicking back against the B.S.
After that, check out the stories of courage here.
Takes some balls to speak out against such a venerated institution as the Boy Scouts.
Are your kids in Boy Scouts? If yes, do you talk about the anti-gay policy? If no, are they in something else more welcoming? How do you like it? Did you get pressure to join the Scouts? How did you handle it? Whatever your answer to these questions, feel free to dispense any advice you have anyway. I could use it. I don't want to break a kid's heart, but I have to take a stand on this one.