Boy Scouts go full gay; BSA will finally allow homosexual leaders

July 14, 2015 Originally published on SFGate

Sensing their own near-future obsolescence, realizing they are quite a bit further behind the times than they might have imagined, scowling over the fact that the very LGBT-friendly Girl Scouts are light years and I do mean light years ahead of them (not to mention the U.S. military), finally listening to grumpy BSA president and former Defense Secretary Robert Gates as he told his underlings in no uncertain terms that, no matter how much they might wish to remain all bigoted, the BSA’s lingering homophobia was “unsustainable” and needs to be formally eliminated – acknowledging all this, the Boy Scouts of America, at long last, have formally resolved to allow gay adult scout leaders in their ranks, mostly.

Does it really matter anymore? Is there any cultural charge left in what amounts to an anti-climactic, sort of wimpy fait accompli decision by a stiff, old institution long since kicked to the curb of the news cycle? Or when this decision was made under obvious duress, and despite the fact that some of the BSA’s religious partners can still discriminate?

It’s just the final, exhausted step, after all. The BSA only allowed homosexual boys in their ranks – very reluctantly – in 2013, after much public pressure. And by the BSA’s own admission, this shift is partly due to “rapid changes in society,“ but it’s safe to guess that it’s far more about that other undeniable force of change: lawsuits.

Answer: Of course it still matters … though certainly less so since the recent Supreme Court decision, since the cultural tide has already turned, since numerous gay men and thousands of boys (by just the sheer odds, obviously) are already active in the Boy Scouts, and have been for years, albeit silently.

It always matters when a conservative, traditionally “masculine” institution realizes it’s on the wrong side of history, and finally offers a correction, no matter how late (you’re next, NASCAR, NFL, NBA, et al).

It matters to young parents and parents-to-be, a whole generation of progressive adults who might have written off the BSA as a conservative relic lost in the mind-set of the ‘50s, but who might now reconsider allowing their son to join the ranks after all. (Tolerance is good, BSA. But acceptance is better).

But I’m guessing it matters most of all to the countless young boys in the Scouts who, despite all recent changes, are still hugely traumatized and terrified by their own “unusual” feelings, who are still being bullied and beaten for sounding or acting “gay,” who might have really awful parents or relatives and who, as a result, might think they have nowhere to turn. That way depression, misery, suicide.

One of these Cub Scouts is probably gay. Can you guess which?

One of these Cub Scouts is probably gay. Can you guess which?

Maybe some of them will now be able to find friendly reassurance and helpful guidance by way of an understanding Scout leader – gay or straight – men who were, until recently, prohibited from even discussing the topic with young boys, much less leading openly. You think?

Don’t worry – there are surely thousands of furious right-wing parents across the country right now, howling their displeasure at this change, fearing predation, fearing a sad and homophobic God, fearing some sort of diminishment of what it “really means” to be a male in America. Or something.

They area, of course, forgetting the real truth of masculinity. Haven’t they always?

See, a real man isn’t just about his ability to tie knots, spark a campfire, or paddle a canoe.

A real man is about compassion. A real man holds space for others, offers support, encourages individual spirit. A real man isn’t threatened by that which doesn’t fit into antiquated, fearful stereotypes. Right, Catholic church? Oh wait.

In short: A real man – a real Scout in 2015 America, that is – knows that Love Wins. Time for a new merit badge, no?

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Mark Morford

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