Ohio mom ousted as Boy Scout troop leader for being gay

Well, this is abhorrent:

On Tuesday night protesters gathered in front of a Bridgeport church to let their local Boy Scout leaders know how they felt about a controversial decision.

The controversy began just last week when a Tiger Scout leader had her membership revoked due to her sexual orientation.

Jennifer Tyrrell said she was the den leader for Pack 109’s Tiger Scouts for a year before her orientation became an issue. [...]

[T]he Boy Scouts of America has a strict policy when it comes to sexual orientation and membership.

“We do not grant membership to individuals who are opened or avowed homosexuals,” said Bob Drury. Drury is the scout executive for the Ohio River Valley. Drury said there was no decision to be made, the policy is very clear.

Drury added, “The mission of the Boy Scouts of America is to develop character and leadership skills and the youth of today to become leaders of tomorrow…Anything that distracts from that mission distracts from what our program is.”

And how exactly does it distract from the program? If anything, ousting leaders from their troop for being gay is a bit more of a distraction, don’t ya think? GLAAD’s President Herndon Graddick responded, “Sending the message to America’s youth that they or their parents are somehow less than everyone else is dangerous, inaccurate and should be changed immediately.”

Tyrrel has a petition on Change.org to get the policy changed, but let’s call them too and stir some shit up. It’s interesting how striking the differences are compared to the Girl Scouts — they could learn something from them.

Join the Conversation

  • http://feministing.com/members/samll/ Sam Lindsay-Levine

    I don’t think there is anything worth saving in the Boy Scouts. They have a firm policy of no gays, no atheists – I was a Cub Scout until I ran up against the latter and couldn’t stay silent – and I don’t think there’s any reason to be in favor of sex segregation for our children anyways.

    Why should we spend our effort trying to change this fundamentally broken organization? If you think scouting is worthwhile, why not support and promote something like Camp Fire USA instead?

    • http://feministing.com/members/treefinger/ Candice

      Probably because it’s such an ingrained American institution. I mean, I don’t think there’s anything worth saving in marriage, but I still support marriage equality because of its symbolic significance and the fact that many queer people have a palpable desire for it, which should override theoretical concerns. Besides reforming existing insitutions is probably easier than trying to get rid of them and establish better ones, even if it takes a long time to get it right.

      • http://feministing.com/members/samll/ Sam Lindsay-Levine

        But there already are other existing established organizations that aren’t sex segregated and don’t ban atheists or gay people.

        To me trying to reform the Boy Scouts is like trying to reform the Tea Party: they don’t want to change, they basically hate me and everything I stand for, and there already exists an organization that pretty closely approximates what I would be trying to change them into.

        • http://feministing.com/members/miriamclaire/ Miriam

          I’ve been thinking about this now and then since GS got caught up in controversy for accepting a trans girl. This seems to be an ongoing problem, where segregating by either sex or gender gets messy because both concepts are messy. (Also, people are bigoted.) And I was always disapointed as a kid when I was reminded from time to time that GS does believe in god and thinks I should too… I support GS anyway though.

    • http://feministing.com/members/elleunit/ Lindsay

      I’m kind of inclined to agree with you, Sam. While I’m not American, I have read about the history and policies of the Scouts (we have them in Canada as well, minus the explicit bigoted policies) and if I had kids I sure wouldn’t want them associating with an organization like that. There are individual Scout groups that support inclusion, and I’m pretty sure I heard somewhere that the Girl Scouts have no such policies, but… it’s got a really strong Christian history and it’s hard to get past these particular “values”.

    • http://feministing.com/members/alynn/ aLynn

      I completely agree and came here to make a commnent to that effect, but you’ve said it better than I could.

      This is directly why I don’t partake in Boy Scout fundraisers (where they try to sell me popcorn.) That organization does NOT reflect my values…I’d much rather give my money to the Girl Scouts, which does, and who’s food fundraiser of choice is much more delicious anyway.

      Should I have a son in the future, who really wants to be a Boy Scout, I honestly don’t know what I’ll do.

  • http://feministing.com/members/toongrrl/ toongrrl

    They do know what happens when you put down someone’s mama, right? Well….how dare they do this? Well, glad to see she got a fat load of support
    Boy Scouts of America, you are through!

  • http://feministing.com/members/fieriee/ Cassandra

    And THIS is why I decided against becoming a leader, despite being at the very end of the process. I knew my orientation was going to be an issue if/when it came up.

  • http://feministing.com/members/treydawgg/ Trey

    And, this is why I won’t let my son participate in The Boy Scouts. While there are a lot of things that I do believe that is good about BS, I don’t agree with the segregation and bigotry that comes with the organization. Out of principle, I have found other organizations and activities for my children that do fall in line with the values that I want to raise my children with.