On Friday, April 19, the Boy Scouts of America proposed to lift the organization-wide ban on children who identify as gay while keeping the ban on gay adults as scoutmasters and other leaders.
With growing pressure from outraged activist groups and increasingly negative attention from the media, some would consider the century-old organization’s proposal to be a compromise between traditional values and progressive inclusivity. Gay children are taught the importance of proper knot-tying without the Boy Scout’s conservative blessing when the time comes for them to actually tie the knot later in life. Everybody wins, right?
The editorial board thinks otherwise. If passed, this decision would be one small step for LGBT equality and one giant leap backward for the mental well-being of queer children within the organization. In addition to making children who identify as gay feel inadequate, scouts will now have the luxury of being indoctrinated to believe that homosexuality is merely a childish phase one must inevitably grow out of. The organization is suggesting that like magic crystals and fairy princess castles, gayness is the stuff of youthful fantasy that must be rejected upon reaching adulthood in order to live a serious and functional existence.
Even more unfortunate is the fact that the news was dropped amid the national crisis of the Boston bombing, ultimately limiting potential public reaction.
We hope that the Boy Scouts of America take a moment to seriously reconsider the impact their proposal could have if passed. The fact that the organization believes this proposal is an adequate step forward demonstrates just how intolerant it really is. If they are serious in their commitment to inclusivity, age should be the first and most obvious extension of its reach.