by JASMINE ELSHAMY Photo & Video Editor
The Boy Scouts of America, as of Thursday, May 23, will allow openly gay youths to join, following a vote at its annual meeting in Texas, although gay leaders will still be excluded.
The vote shocked many, especially after 103 years of the BSA avidly remaining anti-gay. Maybe it was the fact that the organization realized that many of their members and their families were in fact supportive of gays, or maybe they acquired some human decency.
The BSA insists on remaining without gay leaders, though, because they are afraid that the leaders will be somewhat predatory and make it uncomfortable for the boys and men around them. It must be made clear that being attracted to a certain gender does not make you automatically like every human of that gender, proving this BSA ruling to be real BS.
“It is just ridiculous that there can’t be gay leaders. Seriously, get over yourselves! Not everyone in the world wants you. Just because you have man parts doesn’t mean everyone wants them, including gay men,” says sophomore Yazmyne Abbott.
It seems that the BSA is ruling more on “sins” than on bad manners and tying knots.
Although there being some upset over the ruling when it came to gay leaders, when several uniformed Boy Scouts marched in Utah’s gay pride parade on Sunday, they were not only taking a stand for gay rights, but knowingly breaking membership rules.
Eagle Scout Kenji Mikesell and several others in Salt Lake City had been publicly warned not to wear their uniforms in the parade because, the BSA said, it showed support for gay rights, a stance behind which the BSA does not stand, although they just finished voting on allowing gay youths.
The BSA seems to be wavering a bit on their word.
“It just feels like the right thing to do,” Mikesell says just before his participation, which came a little more than a week after many members of the BSA voted with gritted teeth to allow openly gay youth into the organization.
In response to the vote, troops were banned last week from meeting in some churches in Alabama.
Mikesell says he hopes his stand will encourage others to join scouting without the fear of being judged.
As for the incident in Alabama, the pastor himself, Greg Walker, specifically said, “To all Boy Scouts and leaders: You’re not allowed at our church anymore.”
He says that “it wasn’t his decision, it was Boy Scouts of America’s.” Last time I checked, they are the ones that did support the welcoming and acceptance of gay youth in the organization. People like Walker are simply encouraging a phobia that cannot continue to be pushed away and downplayed.
“It really is a shame that after receiving this wonderful news about the gays being allowed in, they have to be receiving such hate from churches and such. I don’t understand why it’s just so hard for the church to allow them to meet there! It’s not like they’ll infect you with their ‘disease’ or something,” says sophomore Shyama Srikkanth.