Girl scouts, 4-H and CampFireUSA remain open and supportive
In July, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) reaffirmed its longtime policy banning Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ+) members and leaders.
BSA leaders released a statement saying the policy “reflects the beliefs and perspectives” of the organization, according to a July 17 article in The New York Times.
This made me wonder about other outdoor youth organizations and their policies towards homosexual members and leaders.
According to campfireusa.org, Camp Fire USA provides the opportunity for youth to find their spark, lift their voice and discover who they are. Girl Scouts of America helps build girls of courage, confidence and character, who make the world a better place, according to girlscouts.org. 4-H is cultivating a growing number of America’s youth to lead us in a Revolution of Responsibility, according to 4-H.org.
As a member of 4-H for 10 years, I was always worried that I would be outed and kicked out of the organization.
It turns out my fear were unwarranted.
The BSA is the only one of these four organizations that bans homosexuals nationwide.
There may be homophobic attitudes within small parts of the Girl Scouts, CampfireUSA and 4-H, but they have no policies specifically banning LGBTQ+ youth or leaders.
Even President Barack Obama and Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney agree that anyone should be able to participate in Boy Scouts regardless of sexual orientation.
“The fact that the presidential candidates of both major American parties have come together to oppose the BSA’s anti-gay policy in the most polarized political climate since reconstruction speaks volumes about both the moral validity and critical importance of ending the ban,” said Zach Wahls, an Eagle Scout and co-founder of Scouts for Equality, in an Aug. 8 USA Today article.
I agree with Wahls, we need to end this ban.
Banning homosexuality in youth organizations puts a stigma on being homosexual and can lead to attempted suicides, as shown with the suicide of Carl Walker-Hoover, who took his life after constant bullying for being gay and a boy scout.
In order to tell our youth that you are okay just the way you are, we need to stop stigmatizing differences.
Being LGBTQ+ is no different than any racial or gender difference, and in California it is protected from any form of discrimination by law.
To discriminate against someone for their sexual orientation, or gender expression should be illegal nationwide.
We need more organizations like the Girl Scouts, 4-H and CampFireUSA to advocate for the acceptance of everyone.