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If the Local Option happens, how will Troops deal with practical problems?

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  • #16
    It's a fine line, huh, Moose? Probably more like "if the wrong person finds out." But I think BSA has been pretty clear it has had no interest in operating a star chamber.

    In the case you mentioned, I believe it was a "she" picked up by her significant other. Actually, that is the case I had in mind when I posted. When the mom was picked up early from a campout, one of the ASMs -- a member of the CO -- asked who the other woman was and was told she was the mom's partner. He reported the information to the CO and it was the church who removed the woman from the unit. BSA was asked repeatedly about the situation and responded the mom had been removed by the CO. BSA had nothing to do with the removal and repeatedly said so. Sounds like a look into the future, no?

    I'm not aware of a case where someone was involuntarily "outed" to BSA and removed from membership without that person "avowing" to be homosexual. Of course my Omnipotence Chit has expired, so just because I don't know of such a case doesn't mean much.

    All this interests me as somewhere in all this mess is a reasonable accomodation. My underlying premise is sexuality has no place in a program for young boys. I don't have an interest in one's orientation either way. What you do (or who you do) away from the unit doesn't concern me much. But when you bring it into the unit, it's a problem. I don't care if it's someone wanting a float in the gay pride parade or boasting of his/her conquests last weekend. And I have to think anyone --male or female -- hitting on the Tiger moms isn't going to be tolerated. Not around here, anyway.

    Problem is, I don't care to crank up the inquisition either. I'd be happy if everyone kept their business to themselves and just focused on delivering the program.


    • packsaddle
      packsaddle commented
      Editing a comment
      Think that would be 'Omniscience', Twocubdad.

  • #17
    MT, I'm curious if this is a regional thing. Apparently there are a large number of councils accepting registrations of gay scouts and leaders and refusing to enforce the national rules banning gays.

    Which region are you located?


    • #18
      You are wrong twocub, both councils and national have fought units and religious institiutions that want to be more inclusive.. If a unit wants to be inclusive, they can not proclaim so on their website and all their members must keep the vow of silence away from their council, unless the council also is known to be against the policy..

      Jenifer Tyrell was removed by the council.. Here is a story on a council fighting with a catholic church forcing the CO to drop a homosexual It was the council who recently forced a unit to drop it inclusive statement on it's website. The council welds power over the CO by threatening to revoke their charter.. Either remove the homosexual, or we will remove the whole unit and thereby remove them ourselfs.. National is known to become heavy handed about any rogue councils who do not want to enforce the policy to kick out any "known" homosexual..

      If by descrete you mean not admiting their sexuality at all, hiding their significant other (who could be their spouse).. Well then that is way too descrete.. How would you like to hide your wife in a closet and never speak of her at a scout meeting or allow her to attend a court of honor?.. Being descrete is only fair by allowing them the freedom of being as open about their relationship as you are, no more, no less.. You would be tossed out if you wanted to describe to your scout your intimite bedroom exploits, so would a homosexual scout or leader..

      DigitalScout, I know of Councils who are fighting this policy (and getting slapped down by National).. But, my council to my knowledge has done nothing that lets me know which way they lean.. They haven't openly declared rebelling against the policy, nor do I know of them forcing a unit to remove homosexuals from their units, or remove inclusive statement they have made to websites or the media.. I think in NH we are a delicate balance of half conservative, and half liberal.. The "Live Free or Die" slogan swings both ways.. We have legalized same sex marriages, and though not done by popular vote, polls show it is supported by about 60% of our citizens.. Yet we are equally split between republicans & democrats, and are surrounded by states much more liberal then us.. Twenty years ago when my son was small, I was an oddity to be a working mother, most mothers stayed home. That has changed drastically since then..

      Cambridgeskip's co-leader, may not have been open on the first day of meeting people in the unit she was volenteering in.. But, she did not hide all signs of it, and allowed people to learn about her and her significant other over time.. Here in the US, if any adult leader acted that way, they may risk the CO kicking them out, but if someone who wanted them removed from their position due to their sexual orientation did not get the results they wanted from their CO, they then could complain to their Council, and the Council could lean on the CO to remove them or revoke their charter if they did not.


      • #19
        I have gay and lesbian leaders in the Pack and Troop currently.......I am worried that one of my bible thumping, the one who always pound the bible with their finger or thump it on the table to try to win a disagreement or prove a point, parents will take revenge on them and have them removed from service. Honestly, even if they are not officially on the roster I wouldn't have a problem with them working with the boys in den meetings an such.


        All of the points brought up are vailid.

        I would not want/let the troop or a patrol participate in the gay pride parade. Of course it isn't my decision, I would have to go by what ever the IH and committee say.

        Tenting, gay boy can tent alone. I would never let a teenage boy and girl tent together on an outing.......Same rule applies.

        Transgender......You will need to find another troop, I am not equipt with the skill or knowledge to deal with you and the issues that accompany you.... I imagine there is a lot of drama that follows these folks around.

        I have already dealt with an 11 year old telling me he was gay......He is one of those fellows that does stuff for shock value. That was probably a year ago or more. I spoke with his mother about it. that was the end of it. a 17 year old coming out would be a bit different, but not by much.

        Cross dressing and such would not be tolerated, you would need to fit our troop uniforming standards. Which is Class B's or A's period. We don't put up with drug, concert, humorous or anyother silk screened shirts. Kilts.....I guess as long as it is tastefully done and not too short.

        Far as the camporee with a gay troop in attendance.....I wouldn't say anything.....I would be prepared to answer quesions from the guys, but that is it. I would expect the gay troops behavior to be on par with the rest of the scouts, no hand holding or kissing at events or in public. If not I would go to the event organizers and lodge a complaint and then council.

        That guy, we have all had that guy apply to be a member of the troop. Whether it was he was gay or something else, something just didn't make sense or set off your spidey senses. NO is always the right answer when you feel something isn't quite right. err on the side of safety.


        • #20
          I think there are two inter-related issues the boys and the adults.

          As for the boys I agree with Skip. I just had a 13 year 1st Class old just come out (a family friend) and I am pretty sure he hasn't kissed anyone beside his dog at this point. It explained why he and his best friend/tent buddies parted ways recently. Tent buddy was not comfortable and now 1st Class has a backpacker tent. They still hang out but just sleep seperate. Pretty sensible resolution.

          A few weeks later another boy (bit of a hulking bully) had called him a (gay euphemism). Gay scout who was out weighed by 50 pounds and 3 years said "Yes I am a _. I would prefer to kiss boys and not girls and I presume when I grow up I will want to sleep with them. So what? If you want to kill me for being a _, then do it now and get it over with. If not shut the h_ll up and act like a scout." Bully shut up and left him alone. A while later they were working and laughing.

          It was pretty gutsy to watch and my heart broke for the boy who had finally had enough. One of the bravest things I have seen a while.

          So as far as the boys I do not want to be in the business of prosecuting lads who are already going through a tough time.

          Now for adults I am a little more uncomfortable.


          • #21
            I can't argue with you, Moose. I clearly see your point of view and personally agree with much of what you're saying.

            But the title of this thread references dealing with practical problems. My practical problem is being in a fairly conservative part of the country, with a fairly conservative CO and families with a variety of political and social views. Little ol' me is naive enough to think we're here to serve youth, not wage the latest battle of the culture war. I'm looking for a reasonable accommodation which allows us to be accepting of all youth, keeping our CO happy and supportive, and leaving the politics at the curb.

            Frankly, if I push your point of view we will end up with a "no way, no time, no how" troop policy. That's an easy solution to administer and has the added benefit of running off anyone who disagrees.

            Unless we want to see BSA polarize into intolerant, homophobic troops vs. open, if-it-feels-good-do-it units, then those of us trying to find acceptable middle ground need to start coming up with some answers.


            • #22
              All I'm saying is you were sounding as if your saying we already have local option, and National putting in Local option is basically forcing units to accept homosexuals no matter if their personality would cause you not to accept a volunteer who wereheterosexual but otherwise had a similar openess about their sexuality..

              But, the local option you "think" we have is not something that we have.. Right now it is not the choice of the CO, unless the CO keeps their homosexual members a very big secret.. Because the council can force the CO to remove a volunteer who is a wonderful addition to their unit, simply because they have become aware of their sexual orientation, even if they are execellent Adult leaders and role models for the youth.

              If you would be comfortable with Cambridgeskip's homosexual leader, then you would be comfortable with national allowing the local option.. Because that is what the local option would give you.


              • #23
                I have posed the transgender thing a couple of times previously, with no connection to the potential policy change. To me this is really interesting.

                If a man decided to undergo the surgery and hormone treatment to outwardly appear female, would BSA 1) categorize him as a homosexual or heterosexual and 2) if that transgender person subsequently married an existing scout leader, would this be viewed as a homo- or heterosexual relationship?
                Moreover, without karyotyping applicants, how would BSA know in the first place? What business of BSA's would it be FOR them to know?


                • #24


                  • perdidochas
                    perdidochas commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Not an LDS Scouter, but to defend them on having their own weeks. It's not to avoid non-LDS troops. It is to facilitate check-in/etc. LDS troops don't camp on Sunday. They show up for summer camp on Monday, versus other units showing up on Sunday.

                  • Abel Magwitch
                    Abel Magwitch commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Not quite the same in my neck of the woods peridiochas. different experiences I have had.

                • #25

                  Really confused here, have not any of the people concerned about gay scouts or scoutmasters ever camped in a commercial campsite or a National/State park? Did you check the sexual orientation of all the nearby campers before you set up Camp? On a hike, how do you assure that all the people you interact with are confirmed heterosexual? For those of you have been to Gettysburg, there is the McMillan youth Campground. Was every group in there straight when you were there, are you sure?

                  I don't see the issue, we have youth protection guidelines, we follow them. What is the issue? Is the thought the allowing of gay scouts means every campout is an orgy ready to break out?


                  • #26
                    AZ Mike

                    Your premise is purely fear motivated nonsense. Local Option means that the units leadership and CO will set the parameters of what is or is not allowable activities. National is abdicating that responsibility because they have lost their vision and lack the guts to declare what scouting should be on a National basis. IMO it is the most cowardly and gutless move National has ever done, and it shows me Nationals professional scouting has reached its end and is time to dissolve it once and for all. The last thing anyone needs to fear is a sudden overwhelming mass of gay youth and adults rushing to join the BSA.


                    • #27
                      BadenP, fear-motivated nonsense is apparently how I roll.

                      I am, however, just doing the favor of taking those who want the New Model of Scouting at their word. If the failure to change to the NMS is all that is keeping a large group of gay scouts, gay scouters, socially conscious liberal parents, and morally impeccable corporate funding sources from rushing to participate in scouting, doesn't it make sense that a change will cause "an overwhelming mass of gay youth and adults rushing to join the BSA?" I have read those on this forum in favor of the NMS claim that the changes will mean that we will have huge Jamboree special effects shows created by Steven Speilberg and that George Takei will create loving media attention by being named the Chief Scouter. If it will have no effect in causing gays to join, but will probably cause social conservatives to leave, shouldn't the discussion focus on why the demands of the few must outweigh the needs of the many? You shouldn't claim that the NMS will change everything, but then say we shouldn't talk about how we plan to deal with what might happen, because after all it really won't change anything.

                      If, as you say, the Local Option allows the units leadership and CO to set the parameters for what is or is not allowable activities, is it not prudent to discuss now how we individually plan to deal with the issues that arise? Clearly, some of those issues have already arisen (like participation in Gay Pride parades, and all-gay scout troops) in Canada Scouting (possibly to its detriment), and, in the Girl Scouts of America, transgendered child issues. Do you think the Boy Scouts of America operate on a special reservation that protects us from the problems of society as a whole?


                      • BadenP
                        BadenP commented
                        Editing a comment
                        AzMike, It is not prudent discussing how we individual units will make our determinations of what is proper or not proper activities. Local option means exactly that, it is for the owners of the units to decide and not a concensus of the entire membership. As I said since National has lost their decision making ability and buried their heads in the sand it is now in the hands of the CO's to be the guardians of the units scouting values. In the long run this could result in scouting becoming a stronger organization but it is going to be a long and bumpy road.

                    • #28
                      Scouts and Scouters cannot use the uniform of Scouting in political events or to promote political campaigns. Is a Gay Pride Parade a political campaign? I don't think so, no more so than a Latin American cultural event is the same as a pro-immigration rally, or any 4th of July parade is just a collection of politicians walking three blocks throwing stale candy at a bunch of sweaty babies.

                      Now, if the event was a rally in support of specific gay rights/marriage legislation, I would remind those taking part that they may perform civic activities (lead a flag ceremony), but after that the uniform shouldn't be used.


                      • #29
                        I agree the practical problems mentioned will, in 99% of all cases, either not be a problem or the problem is easily solved or decided upon.

                        The "T" in GLBT? I am unaware that any state lets a minor undergo a sex change operation so that T is out. The others? A girl dressing as a boy waiting for that sex change operation is still a girl, so excluded.

                        Camping with a homosexual adult? Well if she is lesbian no issue there, correct? If the adult is a male? Well, I don't recall our female leaders hitting on the guys or visa versa - and that is with both man and woman being straight. A gay man hitting on a straight man at camp would be 100x less likely to happen than a straight woman hitting on a straight dad at camp.

                        Would a straight leader want to sleep with a new gay leader? Well, in our Troop, if they gay leader didn't snore like a chainsaw like the rest of us do then most of the straight men would be fighting to share a tent with the gay leader. (Yes, I am being completely serious here.)

                        One gay Scout? Odds are it would be an older Scout "coming out" and not a younger Scout. Friendships would have been developed most likely. Do not know how the adults would handle it but the gay Scout, and his straight friends, would likely share a tent with him like they have for years. Friends are friends and none of those friends would be his boyfriend so nothing happens. Straight or gay, any Scout who is a jerk would be the one without a tentmate. How the adults would handle this? Don't know. I'll tell you how it works out if it ever happens. The Scouts will all know who is gay months before any adult finds out.

                        What do I worry about? The same things I have the past ten years and will worry about for the next ten.
                        A Scout putting a knife at another Scout's throat at summer camp. (Scout suspended, quit the Troop, joined another Troop and now serving in combat this very day. Apparently turned it around.)
                        A 2nd year Scout dropping his pants and saying something beyond inappropriate to another Scout. (Scout is straight apparently; he was bounced.)
                        A 2nd year Scout saying something beyond inappropriate to another Scout, also sexual in nature. (another straight kid apparently, no longer in the troop.)
                        A fully trained leader, married (still is today), father, etc. Said/did something inappropriate to an underaged female in a public place. (Goodbye from BSA and criminal conviction.)

                        Looking for problems with gays? You're, according to the odds, looking in the wrong place and thereby taking your eye off the ball. There are bigger fears to look out for and, as importantly, other important issues to devote your time to in the service of our youth like leadership development, personal growth, interpersonal skill development, etc. The gay issue can be a distraction but only if you let it. Educate those who have issues and tell them what the real problems are they should focus their time and attention on. Gays in BSA likely won't make most unit's top ten list of REAL problems.


                        • #30
                          Numerous studies have proven that gay men are no more likely to molest children than straight men. In fact, pedophiles are sometimes classified by mental health professionals as being of a "third sexual orientation."

                          So the issue of the single gay guy who wants to volunteer with the troop is a non-issue. If his enthusiasm is the cause for concern, you should have the same concern over the enthusiastic straight guy as well.


                          • EmberMike
                            EmberMike commented
                            Editing a comment
                            Sorry, AZMike, that's just wrong. On many levels.

                            Men are allowed on GSA camping trips. Maybe in your area it's a local restriction, but the GSA has no policy against male leaders, other than that they always be accompanied by female leaders and not be alone with girls, which is prudent "2 deep" leadership no matter what organization we're talking about.

                            Regarding the myth that gay men are more likely to molest kids...

                            According to the American Psychological Association, "homosexual men are not more likely to sexually abuse children than heterosexual men are."

                            In a 1992 study in Colorado, two physicians reviewed every case of suspected child molestation evaluated at Children's Hospital in Denver over a one-year period. Of the 269 cases determined to involve molestation by an adult, only two of the perpetrators could be identified as gay or lesbian. The researchers concluded that the risk of child sexual abuse by an identifiably gay or lesbian person was between zero and 3.1%, and that the risk of such abuse by the heterosexual partner of a relative was over 100 times greater.

                            Some estimates put the rate of incident of child molestation at 95% heterosexual perpetrator, 5% gay perpetrators.

                            I'd be happy to read any study you find that suggests otherwise, provided it's not a study commissioned by a religious group. The overwhelming evidence among psychiatric institutions and medical professionals is that gay men are no more likely to molest kids, and in fact most evidence suggests that they are statistically LESS likely to molest children than straight men.

                          • packsaddle
                            packsaddle commented
                            Editing a comment
                            EmberMike, I don't want to enter the argument about whether or not one group or another is likely to molest children. I do want to note that AZMike is correct about the lack of actual science in these studies. These are mostly statistical exercises or the result of uncontrolled comparisons and hardly meet the rigor of actual science. To be sure, they do employ some sophisticated mathematical methods of removing bias, etc. but in the end, they still, at best, suggest interesting hypotheses...and do not in themselves constitute scientific tests. And, given that we're concerned with human subjects, those kinds of tests are unlikely in the future as well. And that means that the argument is likely to continue, unresolved, as well.

                          • Twocubdad
                            Twocubdad commented
                            Editing a comment
                            Agreed, pack. Noodling around on the Internet trying to find objective info on this subject, I was surprised to learn that pedophilia is defined as a sexual attraction to those under age 16 and more than five years younger than the perpertrator. Do the math. Any sex with a 16 or 17 y.o. Scout wouldn't show up as pedophilia, past age 12, it's not considered pedophilia. That may be a valid definition for the purposes of diagnosis, but it certainly muddies any discussion of statistical analysis as it relates to Scout-aged youth.

                            And personally I believe the APA has compromised it's own standing when it comes to social/political issues. I'll hold out that the actual research and standards remain valid, but they've done a really good job of creating the appearance of a conflict of interest. Anytime I read "According to the APA...." I am immediately skeptical.

                            As to the Colorado study, Mike, aside from sampling bias, the first question I would have is what do they mean by "identifiably gay or lesbian"? There may be an accepted, scientific or APA means/definition, but for a whole lot of folks simply applying good ol' horse sense, gays would be identified as the men molesting boys and lesbians are the women molesting girls. That may be a semantic difference, but it is not uncommon for professionals in a field to apply specific meanings to terms which have a much broader understanding in the vernacular. Ever watched Beavah get all torqued up when some gets accused of "hazing"?