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Boy Scouts Refuse to Give Teen an Eagle Scout Badge Because He's Gay - Would you sign the petition or was badge denial to be expected?
October 8, 2012 at 2:56 PM

Boy Scouts Refuse to Give Teen an Eagle Scout Badge Because He's Gay

Posted by Jeanne Sager on October 8, 2012 

Boy ScoutsNeed another sign that the Boy Scouts of America have a serious problem with gays? His name is Ryan Andresen, and he's worked his way all the way up to Eagle Scout over the years, putting in the same kind of effort as every other boy trying to get the Scouts' top rank. Only now the BSA has decided the teenager doesn't actually deserve the coveted badge ... because he's gay.

The whole fiasco has taken the Internet by storm, and Andresen is getting support by the thousands in the form of the angry masses singing a petition put together by his mom, demanding the BSA give in and give him his darn badge. Good for Mom for standing by her son, but I think it's high time we acknowledge the rather large and gray elephant in the room, don't you?

What the heck was a gay kid doing in the Boy Scouts of America in the first place?

It's a group known the world over for being homophobic, and they're not closeted about it. Just this past summer we were treated to an official announcement from the powers-that-be at the private organization that they will continue to discriminate against LGBT kids and adults who would like to volunteer. It's sad, but as the courts have reminded us again and again, as a privately-funded organization with religious roots, the Boy Scouts can get away with it.

Which means they can tell Ryan Andresen where to stick it, and no amount of petitions from his mom can change their minds.

So I ask again: why did Karen Andresen continue to push her gay son through the ranks of a homophobic organization? From the sounds of it, she's a supportive mom who understands that her son was born this way. That's a parenting win right there.

But encouraging him to stay with Scouts means she was either telling her son, "Oh honey, don't worry, the rules don't apply to you," or she was setting him up to be screwed by a system that was specifically designed to tell him there's something wrong with him. It probably wasn't intentional on Karen's part, but sadly, either option smacks of poor parenting.

Kids don't need to be molded to meet the requirements of some narrow-minded group like the Boy Scouts. They need true support. And they need to know that there are some places where they can't or shouldn't go, places where you can't suddenly have the rules changed to fit you.

What a kid like Ryan needs is to be guided toward an organization where he can do something positive for the world regardless of his sexual orientation. Kids need to find a place where their efforts are valued not undermined because those are the types of organizations that turn out good citizens. 

The petition to get Ryan his Eagle Scout is well-meant, but it doesn't address the real problem here. We don't need an organization to change its rules for a kid; we need families to value their kids over an organization.

Would you sign the petition for Ryan or do you think the denial of his Eagle Scout was to be expected?

Replies

  • Woodbabe
    October 9, 2012 at 7:31 AM

    If he was in the troop before he came out, and he's earned and been given the other awards leading up to this one, then he should be given the award. 


  • Bookwormy
    October 9, 2012 at 7:35 AM
    Technically, it *is* every troop, since it is BSA's national policy.


    Quoting SilverSterling:

    Signed it a Long time Ago and just explained to my 11yr son who wanted to join the boy scouts why I was against it.. I left the final choice to him if he still wanted too after knowing everything and how they treated others then I would support him.. He decided he didn't want to belong to a group who mistreated others based on who they love or who their parents choose to love. Yes I do know that its not every troop but living where I live and know the fathers I know I wouldn't chance it.


  • SilverSterling
    October 9, 2012 at 9:54 AM

    I know but on this board it seems like people can excuse bad behavior and the normal come back for some is well not all (in this case) troops are like that.. I am sure not all Troops breed hateful boys who don't respect those in their troop are "different" or have a "different" type of family then theirs. But Your right I cant and don't support the Policy and my 11yr is old enough to make some educated choices for himself. I was proud that he didn't want to support the Boy Scouts by being one. He choose to do some sports instead.

    Quoting Bookwormy:

    Technically, it *is* every troop, since it is BSA's national policy.


    Quoting SilverSterling:

    Signed it a Long time Ago and just explained to my 11yr son who wanted to join the boy scouts why I was against it.. I left the final choice to him if he still wanted too after knowing everything and how they treated others then I would support him.. He decided he didn't want to belong to a group who mistreated others based on who they love or who their parents choose to love. Yes I do know that its not every troop but living where I live and know the fathers I know I wouldn't chance it.



  • Ziva65
    by Ziva65
    October 10, 2012 at 2:14 AM


    Quoting mem82:

    This. I don't condone the BSA stance on this, but I don't think any private organization should be forced to do anything. I feel bad for the boy being caught up in the politics, especially if his mom was telling him they BSA would bend the rules for him.

    Quoting deccaf:

    Since BSA has made no secret of their stance on the gay community, I think there is nothing the boy or his mom can do.  I fail to see why the boy did this project, knowing the feelings of the leadership in the organization.  BSA is private and does not have to bend to anyone's will.


    I was thinking this too. An Eagle project can easily take a year- maybe two with planning, scheduling, approvals, etc, unless it's a fly by night one (but they shouldn't be, and that's not the intent). It seems he was close to finishing, maybe scheduled his Board of Review and in Sept, the rules changed. Perhaps his troop is very dogmatic, perhaps his mom was out on a limb on her own, IDK. But, I do agree, i don't think they(the mom and the boy) have much to stand on.

  • Sekirei
    by Sekirei
    October 10, 2012 at 4:55 AM

    It was to be expected.. hate will always win in these sort of groups.


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