Jump to content

Recommended Posts

So what do you do if a scout tells you he is gay?


Ignore it?

Have a SMC?

Kick him out?

Turn it over to the Troop committee?


I have had it happen, scout was 11....I resisted investigating further whether he knew what exactly he was saying or not. I simply pulled mom aside at pick up and mentioned it to her, I made sure she was aware my telling her is just informational and nothing more.


I did not report it to the troop committee or COR or IH or DE,SE. SM and I talked about it and we are pretty sure he was just being 11.


With that said, what about a 17 year old life scout???? how about your 18 year old JASM?



Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 40
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Life isn't always easy! That's why they pay us the big bucks!!

Asking these type hypothetical type questions in an open forum (Even if it is real for you) Is a little unfair.

Scouting is all about relationships.

We adults get to know the kids we serve and they get to know us.

Each and every Lad is different and needs and deserves to be treated as an individual.

We rented a public swimming pool for my son's 16th birthday party. One Lad who was also about 16 was openly gay.

He seemed to want to wear the fact that he was like some kind of a badge.

Don't get me wrong he was a nice kid and a lot of fun.

After I was talking with my son about this Lad and from what my son said it seems that according to this gay Lad, he has participated in gay sex and boasts about it.

How true was his boasting?

I have no idea.

The Lad was a real extrovert and seemed to want to be noticed and wanted to be the life of the party.

He attended a couple of Sea Scout dances and was a really outstanding dancer.

Some of the Sea Scouts were thinking about seeing if he wanted to join the Ship.

He never did and never even asked.

What would I have done if he had asked to join?

Of course as it didn't happen, it's kinda hard to say.

Still I think I would have explained that any sort of inappropriate behavior wasn't allowed.


Today's kids are exposed to a lot of things that I wasn't when I was about their age. I have visited friends who have bought their kids laptops. They have said that these laptops are running slow and asked me to look at them.

When I did look the kids had downloaded a lot of really hardcore porn. When I was their age, that sort of stuff wasn't as easily available.

While I'm not into visiting porn sites!

I can see how some of these can confuse young Lads.

Maybe they have participated in some activities that they are not proud of? Looked at other boys?

Stuff that for the most part is normal for all boys and is not that un-natural.

Still when they see it on a gay porn site, they end up thinking that they are gay.

I'm not that comfortable talking about sex with youth members (I'm uncomfortable talking about sex with anyone other than my wife.)

I like to think that I'd know if one of the Scouts who had been in the Troop for any length of time was participating in inappropriate activities and would deal with them on a case by case basis. If that entailed involving the SE, the Committee or law enforcement? So be it.

But a Lad telling me he was gay?

I think my first question would be "How do you know?"

We have in this forum discussed what the heck a "Avowed Homosexual" might be?

Surely a Lad who is confused about his own sexuality, needs all the understanding we can offer.

It might be that at some time he has participated in activities that are really more about experimentation than a true sexual relationship?

I would wait till after I had finished talking with the Lad and the record (Write down what was said.) Then I'd talk with his parents.

It might be that he is indeed gay.

Still Scouts and Scouting is as far as I'm concerned "A sex free Zone".

We have male and female Sea Scouts in the Ship.

The Quarterdeck has come up with a list of things that deal with open signs of affection. In answer to a male and female pair that were boyfriend and girlfriend.

I never asked and don't really want to know what this pair got up to away from the Ship. They never said and I sure as heck never asked.

We really have no idea what sort of things the adults in our organization get up to away from Scouting. I'm willing to bet we have people who cheat on their spouses and homosexual leaders who keep their sexual preferences well hidden.

If the 18 year old JASM, is telling everyone that he is gay and is telling younger Scouts that he is (Didn't we have a thread about this sort of thing not so long back?).

I do think that he would have to be removed from the Troop.

So much would depend on what action or what the 17 year old Life Scout was involved in that it's impossible to give a fair answer.

If he just thinks that he might be gay?

That's one thing.

If he is involved in a homosexual relationship, which is real and he is telling everyone about it?

I think I'd want to meet with him and his parents, before taking any action.

I do think it's very important that we, unless we have special qualifications remember that we are volunteers.

Lads who are having a hard time working out what their sexual identity really is are going through an emotional roller-coaster. They can be very venerable, so we need to always try and do what's best for the Lad.

While at the same time looking after the other Lads in the Troop or Ship (And Crew)

Thinking, and maybe knowing? Is OK but participating in activities that make others uncomfortable or harm others just can not be tolerated.





Link to post
Share on other sites

"Thanks for trusting me enough to tell me. Can I ask you why you told me? Is there anything you need my help with?"


I can't recall being told in any training session, or reading in any Scouting publication, that gay boys are banned from Scouting. I am certainly aware of the Dale case, but National has never informed me, as a volunteer, of any actions I'm obligated to take to deal with such a situation.


So I'll use my best judgment.



(P.S. There's no such thing as an 18-year-old JASM. At 18 in a troop, they become adults and ASMS/MCs.)(This message has been edited by shortridge)

Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with shortridge (except the 18 year old part... ASM only)

I do think though that an adult (that 18 year old) stating that he's gay is significant. That should become known to your DE. A Scout? Unless he makes some sort of issue about it, one should try to ignore it. His telling you, however, doesn't make that easy. He needs to air it out. If he is wondering, or if the leader is wondering, that's one thing. If he's "out there," that's another, and he has several decisions to make. Being in Scouts (and why) is one of them.


Link to post
Share on other sites

Why is asking a question in an open forum unfair???????????? Would you have treated a scout who was a friend or member of your troop any different? I treat all of my scouts the same.


Well, I will never discuss sex with a youth member of troop pack or crew, probably not with any adults either.


so if the SM and I had pulled the scout a side and asked if he was gay and new what it meant.....I don't see how that could have ended any way but badly. mom mad, scout leaving us or us having to remove him.


Just looking for what my peers think is all.....


I stand corrected....ASM is the only official charter job an 18-20 year old can hold in a troop.




It is my belief that this issue is only going to become more and more frequent. The difference now verses 20 years ago is it is now an acceptable choice. I am not going to judge it, but I have to deal with it in others.



Link to post
Share on other sites

First thing I would do is make sure that I heard him correctly.


Then I'd get a clear understanding of what he understands gay to mean, and also be sure that he really thinks he is.


Never experienced it myself, but have heard often enough over the years that prepubescent and teens going through puberty as well as those who are just past puberty being able to have feelings for both sexes.Not so much as being confused in what they think, but being confused in what they understand about what they feel.


Truth be told, I don't understand it ...mostly because I never went through it myself.


But then again, when I was around that age, people didn't try to judge wether you were homo or hetero based on what songs you listened to, what style of clothes you wore, what kind of car you drove, hairstyle, etc...


Back then, you either were or were not. Bi sexual wasn't even a word in my are unles you were talking about those little frogs that could spontaneously change their sex ( don't understand that one either!)


The next thing I would do is tell the boy that this is something he might need to discuss witha trusted family memebr or long time friend.


As far as I am conbcerned, until he3 turns 18, he is not gay, nor is he straight. Matter of fact, as far as I am concerned, he has no sexual id or orientation.


He is not a straight scout or a gay scout, he is just a scout.



Now, having said all that, the single biggest thing that makes a difference in how you approach this is that you know the boy and I do not.


Not a single bit of advice matters without knowing the person personally or at least as well as you know this boy, his personality, background, quirks, etc...


Like me asking advice on what my wife might mean when she says "X" , and how I should handle it...it all depends on my wife, her personality,etc..



But from what I can tell, you went about it the right way.


No knee kerk reactions, no sudden halting of friendship or mentoring, no Spanish Inquisition type hearings.

Link to post
Share on other sites

D'oh ... MCs have to be 21, of course ... sorry.


The next thing I would do is tell the boy that this is something he might need to discuss witha trusted family memebr or long time friend.


Perhaps that's you. Maybe he doesn't have anyone else he feels he can talk to. Which would be sad, but it's a possibility nonetheless.

Link to post
Share on other sites

"Why is asking a question in an open forum unfair?"

Sorry that didn't come out as I wanted.

What I was trying to get across was the fact that as each Lad is different there really is no real down pat answer.

I'm not sure how the subject might come up?

Boys will talk to each other about subjects that they feel uncomfortable talking to adults about.

When it comes to sex? All too often they will say what the other or others want to hear. Sometimes not telling the truth and making up stories.

BBC-America has been running The Inbetweeners. A sitcom about four 16 - 17 year old boys growing up. Even though it's a sitcom, it comes very close to dealing with what a group of boys that age deal with. In fact it reminds me about myself and my inner circle of friends when we were that age. One Lad is full of stories about his sexual conquests. All lies, one just follows and seems to believe everything anyone tells him. One is the sensible Lad who doesn't believe a word and questions any and everything, his best friend is also well grounded but still goes to the group for help and advise.

The program sometimes is very near the mark, with lots of bad language bleeped out.The boys talk freely about masturbation and other sexual topics. Far more than I remember doing so when I was their age, even to my best friends. Some subjects that were taboo when I was young are now OK?

Still, I'm having a hard time thinking of a situation when a Scout would come to me and tell me he was gay.

Older Sea Scouts both male and female have voiced the opinion that the BSA gay policy is wrong. Not saying that they are or aren't gay, just that the policy is wrong.

While the "Don't ask, don't tell". Is no longer around in the military. I tend to think that it's OK for us in Scouting.

There have been Scouts in the District that people suspected of being gay who after they left Scouting came out, there have also been Scouts that no one in a million years would think of as being gay who have also came out.

We try our best not to allow youth members to engage in sexual activities at Scouting events. This isn't that hard with male and female Sea Scouts. It is sometimes harder with male Scouts who even if they are not gay will experiment.

Many years back I took a Troop to Holland a pal of mine was a Dutch SM.We mixed the Patrols having English Scouts and Dutch Scouts in the same Patrol and sleep in six men tents. One night before I turned in I was checking to see if everything was OK. Outside one tent I overheard the English and the Dutch Scouts having a competition to see who had the biggest penis. I put this down to boys just discovering and experimenting their own bodies more than any real sexual act.

I never said anything and went on my way.



Link to post
Share on other sites

Perhaps that's you. Maybe he doesn't have anyone else he feels he can talk to. Which would be sad, but it's a possibility nonetheless.

Well, without dfrawing one, I am thinking of a flow cdhart here i the way I'd handle this.


I'd ask if tere was a family member of vfriend...but going with what you said.....that answer might be no based on the fact he's talking to me.


Kinda like the flow chart, depending on what the answer is, I then go to te next step.


Depending on his relationship with his parents and how uptight or strict they are - they may be the last people he wants to talk to.


Yeah, it is sad .



Link to post
Share on other sites

A response from the other side of the Atlantic....


I have had a very similar situation in that I had a 12 year old scout told me that he thought he was gay but wasn't sure. A tricky one. What I did was be as honest as possible with him.


I told him that he was going through puberty and that his hormones would be all over the place for some years to come. He was at an age where he was discovering who he was, it may turn out to be gay, he may turn out bi and that some people have homosexual feelings during puberty but turned out to be straight. What ever way it was going to turn out was perfectly ok.


I also said that while I was happy to talk to him that if he was confused then his parents were probably the best people to talk to. It was however entirely down to him who he told and when and that I would certainly not be telling anyone other than another adult in the unit (in such situations I think it is a good idea that for my own protection that another adult is aware of the conversation I had) I said that it is a sad fact that there are people who would react badly to him telling them he was gay and hence it was probably a good idea to chose who he spoke to with care.


He seemed quite comforted by that!

Link to post
Share on other sites



Than more likely than not you would be sadly mistaken and already PREJUDGING the boy. That is not what a good SM would do or ever should do, because if he is doing that in all cases with his boys he has NO business being a scout leader in the first place.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Eleven? Yah, it would be hard not to smile. I think that yeh listen to the lad and counsel him as Cambridgeskip suggests. Yeh just let him know that mixed up feelings are part of growin' up and that he needn't worry about it.


17? Yeh sit with the lad and be a good listener and let him talk through his feelings. Then yeh show your continued respect for him, and yeh help where yeh can... includin' helpin' him find other folks more experienced than you are to talk with and work through things with.


18? Same deal. I tend to think of 18 year olds who are still in high school as kids, but 18 year olds who are workin' or in college as adults. For the adult case, then yeh have to be mindful of your CO and community and the BSA and the example yeh want to set. That might take some harder conversations down the road a pace, but not right at the start. Take care of da person, first.




Link to post
Share on other sites

I guess I kinda do the don't ask don't tell thing too.


Gotta an 11 year old too who is wondering if he is Gay. Great kid, likes girly stuff but seems to enjoy the "male-ness" of scouts. Hears boys saying negative things about gays and then wonders about himself. All I can do is tell him everything is going to be OK, that he is young and developing, and is OK just the way he is. And oh by the way do you know that taut-line hitch yet?


Try to keep it a sex-free zone.


My older son went to a youth church pool party (middle and high school age) yesterday. His first boy-girl party really. He has "a lot of issues" so this was a big deal. He noticed a high school couple making out. Some parents scowled but did not stop them. So it is not just a "gay sex" thing with youth but a "sex" thing.


I am of two minds. I have had gay and bi roommates. I really didn't care; by 4th grade I KNEW I was straight and what I wanted. I figured some gay guys are the same. I always figured every gay guy was one less guy competing for the girls.


I guess we just can't say "no sex on scout activities"! Some smart ass would ask "what about myself". I do not like the "conjugal married couple rule"; had some couples really going at it at a cub scout campout; don't they know those tent walls are thin.


In my limited scout experience the gay scout issue (as opposed to the gay leader issue) is very volatile. Even in the conservative church based Scout groups I have been involved in the parents are wildly and passionately split on the issue. In my admittedly small sample size the (often divorced)mom's were the most vehement anti-gay. The dad's might joke but figured they knew a few in sports, scouts, school and it was no big deal. But the mom's are another story.



Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...