Enough Is Enough
Why the Boy Scouts of America needs to stop its practice of dismissing LGBT scout leaders on grounds of "morality."
Many of you may not know this, but I was a Boy Scout. Yes, I was a proud member of Troop 379, and to increase the geek factor, also a member of the troop drum and bugle corp, in which I played the bass bugle. We marched in many local parades, including the Pasadena Rose Parade on New Year’s Day. My childhood was filled with many fond memories of our camping and other field trips.
There are many wonderful qualities about being a scout, but there remains a long and ugly shadow across the organization, for the Boy Scouts of America–the largest youth organization in the country–continues to discriminate openly against LGBT people, both as members and as scout leaders.
Just last week, the Ohio Boy Scouts removed one of its own den leaders–Jennifer Tyrell, whose son is a boy scout–from the organization simply because she is a lesbian. Ms. Tyrell had taken the troop to soup kitchens and on conservation projects at a local state park. She imbued in the scouts the core values of citizenship, compassion, respect, and responsibility. But no matter: She was hounded out, merely because of who she is and who she loves.
As a former scout, it is particularly distressing to see this rigid homophobia of the scout leadership exercised so callously in this day and age. While I respect the right of organizations to their beliefs, when the organization is as influential as the Boy Scouts, I am compelled to speak out–and I have just as much right to voice my opposition to bigotry and call for its end. Consider this: if the Boy Scouts of America believed that only white children could participate, the outcry would be swift. It almost seems unthinkable, just as its current practice of denying membership to LGBT persons will seem to future generations.
I ask you to help me send a message to the President of the Boy Scouts of America, using the link to the left. Let him know that intolerance and prejudice have no place in an organization as cherished as his, and that here in the year 2012, it is high time they changed their ways.
– George Takei