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Basementdweller

So a Scout Tells you he is gay????

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A month ago I was pretty sure what I would do with this.....

 

My initial thought was nothing, just let it ride or maybe speak with his parents in confidence.

 

This last round of media has changed my mind.......I am in a sea of internal conflict and not sure what to do.......

 

So SM's what do you do??????

 

 

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Didn't you just write this earlier today:

The Truth of the matter here Calico is the boy doesn't believe in duty to god and is also gay.

 

So he should have never been allowed to be a member.....

 

Obviously, thrown him out immediately. He doesn't meet the membership requirements.

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Just because some scout thinks or says he is gay, does not mean that he is really gay. I would not take action to remove the scout immediately, although I might eventually do so if the scout's conduct was inappropriate.

 

Depending on the my understanding of the parents and their attitudes I would not automatically take it up with them unless I was sure there would be no adverse consequences at home.

 

Many male adolescents and pre adolescents are unsure of themselves and trying to figure things out. Many years ago my own youngest son told my wife and I that he was bisexual. Other than acknowledging what he said, we essentially ignored it. He was in a school environment where it was at least temporarily fashionable for male adolescents to proclaim their homosexuality. It never came up again and he is resolutely heterosexual today. So just because some kid says something does not mean that all the alarm bells have to go off.

 

Please note that earlier I alluded to conduct. Certainly if such a scout were coming on to other scouts or trying to persuade younger scouts to engage in some level of sexual activity, I would deal with that. But that would also be true in a coed venture crew. There is a difference between what is happening between the ears and overt conduct.

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Yeh ignore da bad advice of non-scouters like Merlyn, and yeh be a supportive friend and mentor to the lad.

 

In my experience boys experiment around and fool around with this stuff. Some of da young fellows who have claimed to be "gay" were doin' it for attention and shock value, and went on to live happy and healthy heterosexual lives, just as many lads have claimed along the way to be "atheists" and gone on to become ministers or rabbis.

 

Kids are still learnin' and growin'. Yeh just be a supportive friend and mentor.

 

Now, at some point I reckon when it comes to advancement, yeh want to encourage a lad to be honest. Da higher da rank, the more yeh expect in terms of bein' honest about whether they can accept da rank with honor, knowin' that they can't truly keep da Oath and Law. That's just part of teachin' character. Yeh handle that as it comes, with patience and prayerfulness.

 

And yep, sometimes yeh reach a point with an older lad where they have become firm in their choices in a way that no longer is a good example to other boys, and in a way that they're no longer open to da mission of the program. Then it's time to for 'em to depart on a new journey, as they've gotten all they can from us.

 

Hopefully, it's done in a way where we can part company as friends. Sometimes, though, teens bein' what they are, they have to rebel a little or a lot in order to cut their apron strings. It's easier to leave home if you're mad at 'em a bit. Just like with our own kids, we recognize that rebellion for what it is, and respond with wisdom and understandin'.

 

Beavah

 

 

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Implicit in Beavah's reply is the notion that being gay (and being honest about it) is not in keeping with the Oath (i.e. morally straight) and that being gay is somehow a bad example for other scouts and that homosexuality is a choice. (Don't mean to put words in Beavah's mouth...so correct me if I'm wrong).

 

I think there's enough evidence that quite a few scouters don't hold Beavah's position to be true and therefore it's not cut and dry what the "right" thing to do is.

 

As an example, my troop is in the same council as the scout that's all over the news. So far, a majority of our registered leaders have have written to the SE directly in opposition to current policy. Likewise, the CO is also opposed to the current policy.

 

If a Scout were to come out as gay, there'd be no way he'd be removed from scouting or denied Eagle just based on that fact alone if it were up to troop leadership. The only way this would happen would be if a parent or outside source complained to the SE. If the SE were to revoke the scout's membership, then there is 100% certainty that our CO would walk away from scouting and stop chartering the 6 units it currently sponsors.

 

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You can do what Beavah suggests - be a supportive friend and mentor to a Scout you might know while hypocritically feeling free to excoriate a lad not in your council who you've never met and who lives hundreds if not thousands of miles away from you and of whom you share information with a parent in order to show that Scout bad, Boy Scouts good.

 

Or you can do what Merlyn suggests and that's be true to the attitude towards gay scouts you've continually posted in the forums and toss the lad out on his ear.

 

You've already made it quite clear in the forums that Scouts that are gay or who might question God should not be members of the Boy Scouts - and now you're asking what you should do? Why the sudden crisis of conscience?

 

As for anyone else, you do what Beavah suggests and that's be a supportive friend and mentor to the Scout and let him know he can trust you. The first thing you do to keep that trust is NOT have a talk with his parents in confidence - You may think you know those parents well but the lad has lived with them everyday of his life - he may have a pretty legitimate fear of speaking to dad or mom about this. A former Scoutmaster I know still lives with the guilt of a Scout of his that committed suicide after he (the Scoutmaster) had a quiet, confidential talk with the Scout's parents over the Scout's questioning of his faith over one he was more interested in - the parents made the kids life miserable for a couple of months before throwing him out of the house. The last person the lad spoke to was his Scoutmaster before he hung himself in his neighbor's garage. Is that something you want to live with for the rest of your life?

 

 

 

(This message has been edited by calicopenn)

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So I'm a SM. Where does the BSA tell me that someone can't be a youth member if they are gay? Is it mentioned in YPT? In Scoutmaster specific training? In the Scoutmaster handbook?

 

I think I would counsel the Scout on what the ramifications are of deciding to go public with such a declaration. Beyond that, things would depend a lot on the context. Why is he telling me this? Is he looking for advice, or is he just wanting to test the policy or test me? Is he still trying to figure things out, or is he confident of his conclusion? Is he telling me that he is sexually active, or is he just worried that he's feeling an attraction for other boys?

 

what do you do?

 

This is pretty hypothetical. It's never happened to me. So I don't actually do anything right now.

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Implicit in Beavah's reply is the notion that being gay (and being honest about it) is not in keeping with the Oath (i.e. morally straight) and that being gay is somehow a bad example for other scouts and that homosexuality is a choice. (Don't mean to put words in Beavah's mouth...so correct me if I'm wrong).

 

OK, you're wrong. :) At least about da last part. I don't think sexual preference is a conscious choice. I do believe that sexual conduct is a conscious choice, as is da example yeh set in your personal words and actions for da others around you.

 

As for da rest, it's the BSA's belief that an open homosexual lifestyle is not consistent with da BSA's Oath and Law, and not a good example for youth. I think da BSA gets to decide what it's own Oath means, eh? ;) So then da character question for both da scout and the adult leaders is whether to lie implicitly because they disagree, whether to remain in da organization at all, whether to write lots of letters or whatnot, whether to respect da will of da current majority of charter partners the way we respect da will of da majority in settin' laws in our democracy. All great questions, some of which reflect different levels of maturity and honor in da response. All ways in which a good scouter and mentor can help a boy develop a confidence in his own choices and a respect for da beliefs of others; all ways in which we can teach that good citizens can disagree without gettin' all hyper and emotional.

 

So I vote that yeh teach 'em thoughtfulness, respect, and maturity. Da other stuff is just political noise.

 

Beavah

 

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The BSA policy is that AVOWED homosexuals are not eligible for membership. A Scout who keeps such information private and confidential is eligible for continued membership as I understand it. Ditto for a Scout who is working through such issues as described by Beavah.

 

A Scout who makes a public and considered declaration of homosexuality would have to have his membership suspended pending further information and action.

 

No different than any other declaration that a Scout was not going to abide by Scout rules.

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You know Merlyn, you really need learn when pushing buttons helps your cause and when it hurts it.

 

First, Base, I would reassure him. Whatever you feel is appropriate.

 

After that, there are lots of variables, depending on the situation and the Scout.

 

If the kid is 17, very confident of his orientation and/or seeming to draw a line in the sand, you have a very candid conversation about the BSA policy. There are clearly more options than Merlyn's summary execution. Oak Tree makes a good point. I can read the BSA Declaration of Religious Principles and understand what it means. I don't think I've ever read an actual policy regarding homosexuals. What DOES avowed mean? Does coming out to you in confidence count? Does it have to be a public statement?

 

Seems to one can say to himself "I don't believe in any god" and disqualify himself from membership, but being homosexual requires more of an outward expression or action. I'm not sure I'm comfortable with the difference between the two.

 

Anyway, back to the Scout, you may or may not want to share your personal thoughts on the matter with the Scout. You do need to let him know what you believe your responsibilities are to him, the unit, your COR and the BSA. I would let him know what the options are and what the potentials are, especially in light of the California case.

 

If the Scout is younger, or maybe coming to you unsure of himself, I would take a completely different approach. I would tell him that this really isn't in the SM job description and offer to help him -- with his permission -- find someone more qualified to discuss this with -- his parents, a counselor, a minister. Let him know you are there to support him and follow up with him to make sure he's getting the help he needs.

 

I probably wouldn't bring up BSA policy with this young man at this point. But if he does and is concerned about his future in Scouting, I'd say, yes, that is BSA's policy, but at that moment the policy of the Boy Scouts of America isn't very important. This is a difficult and challenging time for him. What is important is for him to figure out things for himself and what's best for him. Together you can sort through the BSA stuff later, but for now there are more important things to deal with.

 

Overall, the lesson from California is be careful not to make promises you cannot keep.

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A Scout who keeps such information private and confidential is eligible for continued membership as I understand it.

 

So when does a scout go from not-avowed to avowed? How many people can he tell?

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TwoCubDad writes:

You know Merlyn, you really need learn when pushing buttons helps your cause and when it hurts it.

 

"I know no method to secure the repeal of bad, obnoxious, or unjust laws so effective as their strict execution." -- U.S. Grant

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Here's what I'd tell him:

 

"Big deal, so what, who cares?

I don't want to know, and neither does anyone else. Why in the world do you even need to make such an announcement?

We have better things to do in Scouting than bring up issues like sex or politics! Get off your high horse, you're really not that important!

Shut up and go build a fire without any matches! Go out and identify all the trees around camp. Lash a tripod to hold up the wash station. Identify that bird up there. Teach those younger Scouts how to tie the rescue knot with one hand. You're the Patrol cook, so get dinner going.

Seriously."

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Consult a factsheet...

 

 

LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender)

 

The Scout Association has an equal opportunities policy, and welcomes members regardless of their sexual orientation or gender.

 

View Supporting a young person who is gay and in Scouting (FS185083) (PDF)

 

View It's OK to be gay and a Scout: advice for young people (FS185082) (PDF)

 

View Being gay with an adult role in Scouting (FS185081) (PDF)

 

http://scouts.org.uk/supportresources/search/?cat=377,378

 

 

(This message has been edited by pint)(This message has been edited by pint)

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Except Pint, those are rules for you scouts across the other side of the pond, they don't apply her

 

Here the rule is simple, Avowed Homosexuals need not apply.

 

So if a scout tells you he is gay and means it, then its your obligation to shake his hand and then show him the door, Period.

 

If you don't want to follow the rules, then maybe some leaders should go too.

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