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"Straight." Does the institution need to change?

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Oops, I don't know why my same message got posted 3 times! Moderators, can you delete two of them, please?


Brent, thanks for helping to clarify my question.


Gern, we assume there aren't any practicing gays in the troop since it is against BSA policy. When I think of all the boys in our troop, I can't imagine "kicking" any one of them out, if one confessed to being gay. Instead, I would expect him to abide by the Scout Law and stay morally straight, at least while he was a scout. I would also expect him to camp solo, which many of our boys do anyway. None of us would ever consider it okay to tempt straight boys and girls by letting them tent together, so I'm assuming no one would tempt a gay scout by allowing him to tent with another boy.


As Brent pointed out, I simply asked about organizations that DO allow gays AND girls in their troops. I'm assuming there is SOMEBODY out there who can answer my question without taking offense. I'm still wondering... Do you just require every kid to tent alone? I can't think of any other way that would work, without singling out the gay scouts.

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Your comment brought back a memory of my first committee meeting with our troop. Our COR, an elderly gentleman who rarely shows up at meetings, popped in to introduce himself. He told us that he had full faith in our committee to run the unit as we saw fit but warned us that the CO would not tolerate any gays, adult or youth. Then he went on a diatribe about how we needed to weed out the young boys who showed gay tendencies and correct their ways. He said it was all about the way their fathers failed them and we could "fix" it. Finally our SM stopped him and reminded him that sex is not discussed with the scouts and counseling on anything like this is way out of our expertise or responsibility. He harrumphed and changed the topic and quietly shuffled off.

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So far, no one has responded honestly to Funscout's hypothetical. This tells me that the advocates of girls & gays in the Boy Scouts haven't really thought through the implications of what they are promoting.


Funscout asks a serious question that deserves a serious response. So, let us assume for the sake of argument that BSA sees the error of its ways and admits girls and gays (both youth and adults).


I assume that, unless BSA policy changes, male & female leaders will continue to tent separately (unless married). Can I further assume that even the advocates of girls & gays in Scouting do not promote "straight" boys and girls tenting together? Because otherwise, co-ed campouts will turn into a game of couples sneaking away from the leaders to see how far they can go w/o getting caught.


If you don't think so, you're being nave; at that age, their hormones will be out of control, especially in a dark tent, at night, away from their parents.


So unless you want a bunch of pregnant girls and angry parents in your face, I will assume we can all agree that the best policy is to keep straight boys and girls in separate tents; no need to tempt fate, right?


So, what do we do with the gay boys and girls? You surely can't tent a gay boy with another gay boy (or lesbian girl with another lesbian girl). That's a recipe for disaster, just as tenting straight boys and girls together. Even without the risk of preganancy, there is still the risk of AIDS, hurt feelings when couples break-up, etc.


So, for sleeping purposes, do you pair a straight youth with a gay youth? Or do all youth sleep alone? That doubles the number of tents you need as well as the size of the camping area.


Even if the youth are under strict "no fraternization" orders, how long do you think it will take before they pair up and sneak off into the woods?


Again, if you don't think it will happen, I submit you're being nave.


How about shower arrangements? Surely no one suggests that straight boys and girls should shower at the same time. But do you really want all the gay boys showering at the same time? How is that any different?


Do you want a gay leader showering with a straight leader? I know I would not be comfortable with that, because even where there are individual shower stalls, we all know there are common dress areas where privacy is very little if at all.


Would a straight woman be comfortable showering at the same time as a straight man? Is that any different that a straight man being asked to shower at the same time as a gay man?


So, what do the advocates of girls and gays say about sleeping and shower arrangements? Have you really thought this through?

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Fgoodwin, as far as coed camping goes, I refer you to Venture Youth Protection, it deals with coed camping rules quite well. Boys and Girls have been camping together in Venturing since 1998 and Girls were part of Exploring since the early 70's. While I am certain indiscretions occur, its not like Venturing campouts resemble Caligula's Rome.


Next, I think many people have implied in various posts here and other places, I am not sure I can keep the threads separate that sexulaity has no place in boy scouts, or the co-ed scouts if that be the case. We dont have gay scouts and straight scouts, we have scouts. We dont have gay leaders or straight leaders, we have leaders. Now, I dont know how the troop you serve arranges tent mates, but the one I serve, its buddy up by volunteers. I dont worry about puting a gay scout with a straight scout, as its the scouts who figure out where they sleep. AHA you say, then two gay scouts might end up together well they might but as previosly stated as there is no place for sexuality in scouts, and "issues" are dealt with.


As far as showers go, do high schools worry if they have gay and straights taking showers together? (maybe I should watch that, some might) I know at the Summer Camp we frequent, the shower stalls are quite private and no one needs to be seen naked. I dont see it as an issue.



Just one extraneous thought, what ever happned to SAGregan? He started this little fracas and where is he/she now?

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Thank you Fgoodwin and OGE for being willing to try to answer my question. My faith is renewed that sensitive issues can be discussed without anger and offense.


Gern, if you read my post, I said nothing about trying to change the homosexual's way of thinking. I simply said that I would expect the boy to abide by the scout law and abstain from homosexual practices while a scout. What he does after his scouting years would not be a BSA concern. Also, if you read my post, I said if a boy confessed to being gay, these would be my thoughts on the matter. Of course none of us would poll the troop to see who is gay and who is straight. I'm sorry you think I am like your ignorant leader, but that's your right to see me as you will. As a Christian, I can not agree with the practice of homosexuality. Does that make me a terrible person? In your eyes, it seems it does. In God's eyes, I believe it does not.

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Well, there's no doubt gays are the third rail of BSA.

Rooster and Funscouter, my posts were intended to demonstrate that sexuality has no place in BSA. Follow the guidelines of youth protection and don't worry about whether someone might like guys in the biblical way. People get way too wrapped around the axle about this stuff.


Rooster as far as showering or dressing with homosexuals, chances are you already have if you were ever in the military, go to a gym or any other public dressing area.


Now to funscouters initial quest, how do co-ed units do it? Well, I suppose they would have codes of conduct that would not allow sexual contact. Hetero or Homo. You violate it, you are out. Adult or youth. Pretty much covers it doesn't it? In my teens, our co-ed church youth group would go on weekend campouts. We segregated males and females from sleeping in the same tents, but that didn't stop them from sneaking out into the woods to do what they wanted. They violated the code of conduct and if caught, where expelled from the group. I doubt having co-ed tenting would have made any difference. Same goes for adults. I would not want a married couple having sex on one of our campouts anymore than two men. Its inappropriate for the setting.

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I think that OGE covered the essentials of the environment very well.


I'd just like to add one thought. The mere fact that you put a boy and girl together in a possibly secluded area doesn't automatically mean that a sexual encounter is going to happen. The same is true of gays, I am sure. Even in the teen years with the alleged raging hormones, the mechanics of relationships are still in play, unless the assumption is that rape is the inevitable result of such a situation, if consentual sex isn't there. I think that that's just WAY out there in the realm of possibilities, and in my mind, implies a really low opinion of youth.



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I think some of you are waaaay overthinking this. The Venturing program, by and large, manages to handle the boy/girl thing without major problems. As to the gay issue, I have seen it come up so seldom that I can't imagine it being a big issue. The most egregious case I was aware of was young teen Boy Scout, so it isn't just the older ones. Seems to me that, as happened in that case, you deal with it when it happens. If a gay kid is "out," you have to deal with that issue according to your own beliefs. Sexual behavior among kids in Scouting is just not tolerated. We have enough trouble figuring out how to manage to get the kids and the adults showered and take care of other bathroom functions without mixing. :)

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I'll try to answer the question in a straightforward manner. I am associated with a teen group that is mixed gender and mixed orientation. When we have a sleepover or 'lock in' we merely provide good chaperones and make all of them sign in advance an agreement to refrain from certain activities including drugs, violence, sex, anything threatening to the group, and anything that tends to isolate individuals or couples. That only leaves music, dancing, food, videos, outdoor activities, etc. The chaperones stay up all night with whoever is still awake and then we sleep it off after it's over. Once the weekend starts, peer pressure alone is sufficient to keep the chaperone job fairly easy. They're a great bunch of kids.

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I think the simple answer would be "common courtesy" and privacy.


When we have co-ed leaders on an outing, the women are given separate quarters. Why? Are we afraid that if we put a male leader with a female, they're automatically doing to have sex? No, but because common courtesy says that you give them separate quarters.


I think Kahuna got it right. We don't need to overthink this. Venturing seems to have gotten it figured out, and some variation on their rules would probably work just fine, while remembering, always, that sexual behavior has no place in Scouting. Period.

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OK P_S, let's pursue that a bit more.


If a girl did not want to tent with a boy, or share a shower facility with a boy, we would honor her request out of common courtesy and a respect for her privacy, right?


So if a straight boy does not want to share a tent or a shower with a gay boy, do we also honor his request out of common courtesy and a respect for his privacy?


Or is the straight boy just a homophobic bigot who should just get over it?


How are the two situations any different?

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Fred, I am not sure where you are going, but here goes my take.


The American Society separates men and women when it comes to matters of "that sort". Its societal norms that give us the "gents" and "ladies" rooms. Male and Female locker rooms at pools and fitness clubs. Its a cultural thing. if we had been raised in a culture of unisex bathrooms or showers, there may not be an issue of keeping the sexes separated. But, be that as it may, we do live in a society with social conventions and we separate the sexes in that regard and I imagine we shall continue for quite awhile. So, why do we do it? Tradition. How do I feel about it? I feel like its the thing to do.


Now, I have said this before, there is no room for sexuality in scouting. We dont have straight scouts or gay scouts, we have scouts. We wouldnt have gay leaders or straight leaders, we would have leaders. its not a question of separating gay and straight boys in showers as there is no reason to know who is gay/straight because there is no sexuality in the BSA. In the Camp showers I have been in, all stalls are individual and there is no reason for anyone to be naked in front of another. If your camp is not like this it soon will be.


I am sure most members of this forum who have showered in public facilities have showered with gays. How did that work out?

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     Your statement to the effect that there is no room in scouting for sexuality leaves me wondering if Im missing something in your posts in this thread. I went ahead and looked the word up in the dictionary and found these entries; sexuality n. 1. The condition of being characterized and distinguished by sex. 2. Concern with or interest in sexual activity. 3. Sexual character or potency. Now I can see a case being made for example 3 but how can you say that the first two arent/shouldnt be part of scouting, in this case being part of would mean being addressed as to policy. You accept that our society separates male and female that being an example of definition 1. Are you then saying that as leaders, or that while discussing policy as we are here, that scouters should not concern themselves with the adolescent sexual attractions and curiosities of fellow members? I say adolescent because I am mainly concerned with the youth in this and would hope that adults could conduct themselves as such with out need for monitoring. What I think you are trying to say is that we should not distinguish gay from straight but to that I must say it was the gay community that demanded to be recognized. They wanted to be known as gay and because of that their sexual preference has become an issue.

     Prairie Scouter says we separate male from female out of common courtesy, and that sexual behavior has no place in scouting. First I ask common courtesy to whom? The unmarried couple who wants to bunk together or the stiff necked bunch who didnt grow up in the sexually liberated 60s and are freighted by sexual freedom? (Insert SMILEY emoticon I don't have)  The fact is sexual behavior is addressed in BSA policy and has been since the 70s when women became part of the program. What ever your views on sexual conduct are, what ever my views on sexual conduct are we have agreed to check them at the door when we put on the uniform. As leaders we address many traits we want emulated and those which we do not want copied, sexuality being one of them. We have women on staff at our summer camp naturally. We had an attractive nurse serve one summer and the result was noted the following year in a caricature outside the camp office showing the way to the Nurse. However when we had an attractive waterfront director we ran into problems. She was tall, long legged, and even in an 1890s style swim suit would have drawn notice. She was totally mature in all her actions and interactions with campers, leaders, and staff but she made enough Scoutmasters uncomfortable because of the reaction of the boys, if not themselves, that she was not given the opportunity to come back the next year. Cute nurses are ok but put her in a swim suit and you cross the line. Some of the scout shorts Ive seen on female members are more revealing than the swim suits the lady in question wore on duty but she was the topic of many discussions at the Scoutmaster meetings we have after camp. The point is we do acknowledge the differences between male and female anatomy whether we like it or not. OGE made the reference to public showers and the fact that those of use who use them are subject to exposure to the gay community. He asks how that worked out. I guess he feels that as long as you dont know your being viewed its ok. If I was able to disguise my gender would it be ok to view members of the opposite sex in their shower OGE? The point is that once BSA openly accepts gays and girls we must address the social, psychological, cultural, pre established feelings of our members. If we want to separate members because we fear sexual exploration then we must separate gays from gays as well as straight from straight. If on the other hand we are saying that we are not separating genders because we are afraid of sexual explorations then we should have no problem with male, female buddy groups going off on a patrol hike in the woods right? Or are we saying that male, female couples cant control themselves but gay couples can? If we are to be courteous to the person who doesnt accept unisex conditions then we must accept those who dont want to be in revealing situations with those who may be physically attracted to them. We have rules because people dont naturally follow them, if they did we wouldnt need to remind them by making rules. The question here is what rules do we put into place to address gays, ignoring their preference is not a solution.


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