One of the nation’s oldest Eagle Scouts, Mr. Douglas had shot a lion on safari in Africa, hunted whales and grizzly bears in Alaska and written two books on his travels by age 17.
In a year in which gender roles in American institutions have undergone major changes and challenges, five girls in Santa Rosa say they want to spend more time camping and less selling cookies.
Thanks for passing this along, Ivanka! I never got this particular merit badge… I remember seeing this merit badge booklet and wondering, “who the hell would try to earn this?” Now I know. This is why I love the Hate Scouts.
I’m glad the Times is printing follow-up stories on this issue. This one focuses on the complicating factor of Scout Troops where “don’t ask, don’t tell”-style policies have been the norm since the late ’90s when this decision was originally made. I think that Scouts have a responsibility to do a lot more than just be tolerant, but I’m not so sure that the religious organizations, which have come to dominate Scouting in North America, will be able to do that. I wonder if organizations like the United Way stand to be able to go back to supporting Scouting financially if this new policy of tolerance goes into effect nationally, despite the obvious holes in a “don’t ask, don’t tell”-style logic of tolerance at the national level. And finally, what if any real changes will the national Scouting organization implement to counteract the homophobia that it has been promoting for more than a decade. Surely with such a blanket change at the national level, they can’t expect the local Scouting organizations to undergo any kind of ideological transformation overnight. I can’t help but suspect that this is a play for support from charitable organizations like the United Way, which so vocally withdrew support from the Scouts due to their own non-discrimination policies after this decision was originally made.
Boy Scouts Consider Lifting Ban on Gays – NYTimes.com. The US Supreme Court Decision upholding the Scout’s supposed “right” to define itself as an organization along exclusionary, homophobic lines was handed down during the summer of my sophomore year of high school, while I was working at Camp Daniel Boone in Western North Carolina. Camp Daniel Boone was and is one of the United States’ largest Boy Scout Summer Camps, and all of the staff there were aware at least peripherally of a few privately gay leaders and camp councilors. So, it was awkward to say the least when the Scouts’ Supreme Court “victory” was announced there to cheers.
The next year, when I received the Eagle Scout award, I gave a speech in front of my Troop, friends and family who had gathered to celebrate my achievement with me. In my speech I openly questioned the logic of the Scouts’ exclusion of gay members and leaders. I was beginning to question my own sexuality more consciously, and I couldn’t wrap my head around the supposed morality behind the Scouts’ decision. I didn’t know it then, but I later learned that the founder of the Scouting movement, Baden Powell, had struggled with his own (apparently unrequited) homosexual desire. There are also very complicated issues around Scouting’s attachment to concepts of national citizenship, which I still question. I wonder why Scouting can’t just be about the outdoors– which was always the best part of Scouting for me anyway.