7 year old son wants to join Boy Scouts, but I'm uncomfortable w/ the organization - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 65 Old 09-20-2011, 04:25 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My son has been asking to join Scouts ever since last fall (not constantly, but his school sends home flyers a couple times a year, and that sparks his interest.  Also, our neighbor's son is in Scouts). 

 

I'm not comfortable with two things: all the packs in our are meet in churches, and the BSA's anti-gay leanings. 

 

I've talked with my son about why I don't want to participate in BSA, but he just wants to go and have fun. 

 

I've looked for alternatives, and there are no chapters of Spiral Scouts or other clubs (and I am not able to devote the time to try and get a chapter started).

 

Have any other mom's dealt with situations like this, where you personal beliefs are challenged by your child's wishes?  I'm starting to feel like I'm just being stubborn at this point.

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#2 of 65 Old 09-20-2011, 05:17 AM
 
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My son is in scouts. I think it depends on the local chapter. I did not realize it was anti gay?


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#3 of 65 Old 09-20-2011, 05:22 AM
 
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Both of my sons are in scouting and while I completely understand if you don't want  to join in principal, the day to day group has nothing to do with any of that.  They are somewhat religious in that there can be a prayer before a group dinner or something. 

 

I believe your son could have a great troop and learn a lot without bringing anything extra into it.  Frankly, I'm not sure how any sort of "gay" issue would come up.  I suppose a leader or boy could tell everyone but I don't think anyone would care. 

 

I do think that finding a good group of boys is important.  Visit a few troops and see how the boys interact.  I wouldn't join a troop where the boys were nasty to each other.


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#4 of 65 Old 09-20-2011, 05:24 AM
 
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My 8yo is also in scouts. I'm atheist and non-homophobic lol. It depends on the local group I think. I'm pretty sure most people in our den/pack are pretty liberal. It doesn't bother me at all that the meetings are held in a church. They're not affiliated with the church in any way except that the meetings are held there. We love scouts. I had many of the same reservations as you, however it's been great. In fact, next weekend we're participating in a family campout. And my oldest son will get to participate in many outdoor activities due to this such as archery. 

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#5 of 65 Old 09-20-2011, 08:46 AM
 
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Emelsea, most of my 8 y.o. DS's friends are in scouts but we won't allow it for the same reasons. When he asked, we told him, "That group believes that it's not okay for a man to want to marry another man, and we're not all right with that. But every family gets to make their own decision." He's asked a few times over the past year, and we remind him, and he says, "Oh yeah, I can't believe that's what they think!" and we move on. It's a bummer, but I think it's a good example of standing up for our family values.

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#6 of 65 Old 09-20-2011, 08:57 AM
 
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I don't think you're being stubborn. BSA is a hill to die on for me. I absolutely will not give my money to any organization that I know to have anti-gay leanings. While we're pretty open to our children participating in various activities, this one isn't one of them. For me, it's a matter of principle, and principle matters. At the end of the day, standing firm against these kinds of challenges are what define who we are and what we really believe.
 

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I believe your son could have a great troop and learn a lot without bringing anything extra into it.  Frankly, I'm not sure how any sort of "gay" issue would come up.  I suppose a leader or boy could tell everyone but I don't think anyone would care. 

 

Many, many people who are GLBT know it as small children. I wouldn't put my child in a group where he would not be accepted were he to stick with it and come out later. Yes, I get that individuals within the group may accept him, but the organization as a whole is opposed to gay leadership. It creates significant trauma for people who love a group of people (such as childhood church members) but also need to be true to themselves.
 

 

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#7 of 65 Old 09-20-2011, 11:07 AM
 
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i dont have sons. i had the same issue.

 

however a friend who felt that way but only had that activity for her two boys joined BSA coz that was all taht was available for her boys there. Her personal chapter is a great one. the parents are all mindful that she is a single mom with no father figure in her son's life. her now older teen son is gay too. and still in BS.

 

i think it really matters from chapter to chapter. her group is not the typical macho man thing.


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#8 of 65 Old 09-20-2011, 11:11 AM
 
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I don't think you're being stubborn. BSA is a hill to die on for me. I absolutely will not give my money to any organization that I know to have anti-gay leanings. While we're pretty open to our children participating in various activities, this one isn't one of them. For me, it's a matter of principle, and principle matters. At the end of the day, standing firm against these kinds of challenges are what define who we are and what we really believe.
 

Many, many people who are GLBT know it as small children. I wouldn't put my child in a group where he would not be accepted were he to stick with it and come out later. Yes, I get that individuals within the group may accept him, but the organization as a whole is opposed to gay leadership. It creates significant trauma for people who love a group of people (such as childhood church members) but also need to be true to themselves.
 

 


I understand what you're saying.  I did tell the OP not to get involved if it were against their family's principles, but I'm saying that if our scout leader told everyone tomorrow that he were gay, no one from out group would be rushing to tell anyone anything.  So if someone at the top of the BS food-chain was anti-gay, they wouldn't know what our troop was doing anyway. 

 

For example, I know several families who send their children to the local Catholic school.  They want the academics and atmosphere that is provided there.  They aren't anti-abortion, anti-gay families and that's what the Catholic church (in the biggest sense of the word) believes in.  It doesn't affect any of their choices to use the school for the education. 

 


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#9 of 65 Old 09-20-2011, 11:22 AM
 
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Have you looked into the organizations in your area lately.  They may not have the beliefs you think they do.  I was shocked at how much Girl Scouts have changed since I was a child (and that was not all that long ago).  It may be the same with Boy Scouts.  They may be in a church because that is who donates the space at the times they need to meet.  My local LLL group meets in a church because the space is free and available at night but they have no affiliation, the scouts may meet there with the same intentions.

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#10 of 65 Old 09-20-2011, 12:30 PM
 
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BTDT and did not allow my son to join.  He asked a few times but we always explained our reasoning and he always accepted it very easily.  I have heard over and over again the reasoning that local troops are not the same as the national organization, but in good consciousness I cannot allow my son to join a group that would fight all the way to the Supreme Court in order to be allowed to discriminate. 

 

Have you tried looking for more specific groups?  That's what we did and ended up finding a lego club in our area that my son loves.


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#11 of 65 Old 09-20-2011, 03:44 PM
 
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Boy Scouts was our hill to die on as well. Dh basically said "over my dead body".

 

While individual troops usually don't bring the issue up, the problem is that the organization doesn't let openly gay (or lesbian) people participate. Thus, even the local troops are presenting a false image of the world, IMO. Your child will never encounter a gay man as a leader. That gives children the idea that being gay is bad and something to be hidden. Those are not values I want my children to grow up with.

 

Is there a 4H near you? Or more specific clubs? What about sports?


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#12 of 65 Old 09-20-2011, 05:10 PM
 
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The Spiral Scouts is a smaller alternative to Boy Scouts. It is specifically non-religious and open to boys and girls.


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Could you explain your objections to your son and let him decide?


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#14 of 65 Old 09-20-2011, 06:22 PM
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Originally Posted by vtechmom View Post

BTDT and did not allow my son to join.  He asked a few times but we always explained our reasoning and he always accepted it very easily.  I have heard over and over again the reasoning that local troops are not the same as the national organization, but in good consciousness I cannot allow my son to join a group that would fight all the way to the Supreme Court in order to be allowed to discriminate.

 

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At the time my son showed interest in scouts, we identified as Unitarian Universalists. At that time, the BSA was allowing UU boys to earn their "emblem of faith" but not allowing them to display it on their uniforms because UU accepts homosexuals as people. Between that, their anti-gay stance, and their religious leanings, we opted out. My conscience can't handle associating with a bigoted organization.

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#15 of 65 Old 09-21-2011, 04:28 AM
 
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Boy Scouts was our hill to die on as well. Dh basically said "over my dead body".

 

While individual troops usually don't bring the issue up, the problem is that the organization doesn't let openly gay (or lesbian) people participate. Thus, even the local troops are presenting a false image of the world, IMO. Your child will never encounter a gay man as a leader. That gives children the idea that being gay is bad and something to be hidden. Those are not values I want my children to grow up with.

 

Is there a 4H near you? Or more specific clubs? What about sports?


I don't want to change the subject, but I don't think this is true.  If a child doesn't have an openly gay role model (teacher, friend's parent, coach) then he/she thinks being gay is bad? 

 


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#16 of 65 Old 09-22-2011, 05:39 AM
 
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I don't want to change the subject, but I don't think this is true.  If a child doesn't have an openly gay role model (teacher, friend's parent, coach) then he/she thinks being gay is bad? 

 


I don't think it's as cut and dried as that, but I think that in an organisation where gay people have to hide, it's easy to breed the idea that being gay is something that needs to be hidden.  I wouldn't feel comfortable being involved in a homophobic organisation.  There's enough heteronormativity in the world without needing to actively seek out situations where being gay is "othered".

 


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#17 of 65 Old 09-22-2011, 06:50 AM
 
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We don't allow girl scouts for quite a few of the same reasons. Other than that homophobic aspect I don't want my kids out peddling boxes of cookies for hours on end so that all the money can just go right up the chain. Very few of the groups see much of that money. It bothers me greatly. Our friends daughter and son were involved and while some of the things they enjoyed a lot of things were against their principles and it seemed to be a constant annoyance for their parents. There are so many other things kids can get involved in. I wasn't allowed in girl scouts and my brother wasn't allowed in boy scouts. All I wanted to do was go camping and make stuff... and my mom took us camping and we made stuff.
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#18 of 65 Old 09-22-2011, 08:31 AM
 
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I don't think it's as cut and dried as that, but I think that in an organisation where gay people have to hide, it's easy to breed the idea that being gay is something that needs to be hidden.  I wouldn't feel comfortable being involved in a homophobic organisation.  There's enough heteronormativity in the world without needing to actively seek out situations where being gay is "othered".

 

 

Yes, that's more or less what I meant, only I didn't word it well. Not only will they never have a gay leader, but the underlying message is that gay people have to hide. That's the message that I don't want my children to learn.
 

 


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BSA doesn't have "anti-gay leanings" and it doesn't matter "what pack you are in" or how they run it.

 

BSA is fundamentally, organizationally bigoted. It is adamantly anti-homosexual and is fought many, many court cases to preserve that right, including in the U.S. Supreme Court. You cannot join BSA if you are gay or have parents who are gay nor can you be involved in any way if you are gay, like being a troop leader.

 

Young men who have completed all requirements to be an Eagle scout have been rejected when they announced that they were gay. (And so, too, for not being religious.) Active scout members have been excluded when it was discovered a parent was gay, even though the local chapter didn't care. This is what the organization fundamentally believes and fights for.

 

Now, there are probably many, many troops that don't care either way or would rather be inclusive or can live with the hypocrisy of supporting an organization that doesn't represent their beliefs. But frankly, that isn't good enough for me. I will not associate with a fundamentally bigoted organization that excludes my family and friends.

 

Note too that they more often meet in churchs because they are often excluded from public property, in areas with anti-discrimination laws in place.

 

Note that Girls Scouts of America and the Canadian version of Boy Scouts do not have these policies.

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#20 of 65 Old 09-22-2011, 11:03 AM
 
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I would refuse to let my sons join an organization that promotes inequality.
I was happy to find this from Scouts Canada: "Scouting is a world wide, multi cultural movement. We welcome people to membership regardless of gender, race, culture, religious belief, sexual orientation or economic circumstances. Youth members are strongly influenced by the behaviour of adults. We need to be sensitive to the traditions and beliefs of all people and to avoid words or actions which "put down" anybody." From Scouts Canada. Duty of Care, February 2001, CODE OF CONDUCT FOR ADULTS

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My son's likely guardian in the event something happens to us is a gay man.    

 

My son isn't signing up for anything his guardian would not be permitted to participate in because of his sexual orientation.

 

 

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I don't want to change the subject, but I don't think this is true.  If a child doesn't have an openly gay role model (teacher, friend's parent, coach) then he/she thinks being gay is bad? 

 



I think they mean, more specifically, that it is hard to "normalize" something that is never encountered. Particularly if it is noticed that "those kinds" are not allowed here or there.

 

This applies to all types of characteristics: religion, race, gender roles, etc. It is "normal" for daddy to clean house if the children have experiences of a daddy cleaning house, for example.


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#23 of 65 Old 09-23-2011, 12:27 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Youngfrankenstein View Post

I don't want to change the subject, but I don't think this is true.  If a child doesn't have an openly gay role model (teacher, friend's parent, coach) then he/she thinks being gay is bad? 

 

 

They think it's not normal. Not normal = weird, which can quickly lead to bad. Example: I was playing basketball with my son a few months ago. One of the neighborhood kids (who was new to the neighborhood), came up and watched for a minute and said "Moms don't play basketball!" in a voice where he clearly thought it was very odd. Where did he get that idea? I somehow doubt his mother has directly told him that mothers don't play basketball. I was violating the rules that he had inferred from what he'd seen: He'd never seen a mom playing basketball (let alone a pudgy one who can't shoot well!). I've got a similar story around "Boys don't like Dora the Explorer" from when ds was 3 (he did), and could probably round up other ones too.

 

I don't want my kids thinking that being gay/lesbian is something you either don't talk about (my experience) or something that's not part of normal human variation. I strongly suspect that both of my kids are heterosexual (but won't know for sure, obviously for a while). But the gay/lesbian/transgender community isn't going to quit being discriminated against, harassed and othered until the majority community (that's me and my kids) stop asking them to hide themselves and treat them as 'different'. The BSA clearly states that you can't be gay/lesbian/transgendered and participate. I don't want to be part of a group that promotes those ideals. This is a major civil rights issue for me. They're 'free' according to the Supreme Court, to discriminate. I don't have to support their discrimination.
 

 


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#24 of 65 Old 09-23-2011, 01:34 PM
 
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I've just got to stop in and say I'm so glad to read this thread! I refuse to allow my son to join the BSA, for all the reasons listed above. He's only 3, but I am already firm on this. I can't be part of or give my money to an organization that discriminates based on religion AND sexual orientation. It's really nice to see others have the same viewpoint.

Quote:
Note that Girls Scouts of America and the Canadian version of Boy Scouts do not have these policies.

I was a Girl Scout for years and left when I was old enough to recognize how sexist it is. Maybe it's a little different now, I don't know. Meetings were mostly about crafts and sewing, and the badges were nowhere near as fun and outdoorsy as what the Boy Scouts were doing. I asked if I could quit and join the Boy Scouts, who were learning all sort of cool stuff about outdoors and survival and stuff--and I was told that the BSA does not allow girls. It had a huge impact on me, and I think it was the first time I really felt constrained by gender. The result is that I don't want my kids to join either organization.
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#25 of 65 Old 09-23-2011, 01:41 PM
 
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DP went all the way through Eagle with BSA and he would be the first to tell anyone (even before ds was born) that there was NO WAY our kid(s) would ever be in boy scouts.  We are part of a queer community, we live with gay people, my mother is a lesbian, we know tons of transgendered folks and ds is a purple sparkle kinda kid.  There is no way my kid is ever going to be a boy scout!

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I refuse to allow my son to join the BSA, for all the reasons listed above. He's only 3, but I am already firm on this. I can't be part of or give my money to an organization that discriminates based on religion AND sexual orientation. It's really nice to see others have the same viewpoint.

 

 

exactly the SAME!!!

 

my DH is dead-set against it as well--I can't stand to see them begging for money at my local stores-- we flat out tell the leaders why we won't give a cent--even locally all those I know who have been involved have quit and I know no one now that lets their boys join anymore- we aren't far from Philly and it made all the papers when the city tried to get them out of their place---so sad an organization has to be this way

 

when you try and think it's not and up to the local troops, that really is far from true, many do activities with troops outside of the area, so to say it's not happening local thus it's in some way OK ---really is not the case

 

as far as GS---I meet more lesbians there! and from a young age and I really liked the push for acceptance my local GS offered


 

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#27 of 65 Old 09-25-2011, 12:37 PM
 
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The BSA clearly states that you can't be gay/lesbian/transgendered and participate. I don't want to be part of a group that promotes those ideals. This is a major civil rights issue for me. They're 'free' according to the Supreme Court, to discriminate. I don't have to support their discrimination.

OT now that the US Armed Forces has lifted their ban on openly gay/lesbian troops i wonder how it will affect the BSA.
 

 


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#28 of 65 Old 09-25-2011, 03:48 PM
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What do the BSA and the military have to do with each other?

 

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#29 of 65 Old 09-25-2011, 04:23 PM
 
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i think everything. i expect with the armed forces removing their homophobic attitude will cause a ripple effect on other anti-gay/lesbian organisations. will it happen tomorrow? nope. but i expect it to have an effect one day. 


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#30 of 65 Old 09-25-2011, 04:37 PM
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Originally Posted by meemee View Post

i think everything. i expect with the armed forces removing their homophobic attitude will cause a ripple effect on other anti-gay/lesbian organisations. will it happen tomorrow? nope. but i expect it to have an effect one day. 



As a former member of the armed forces and part of a veterans support organization, I feel I can safely say that repealing DADT does not mean that the armed forces have removed their homophobic attitude. Allowing gays to openly serve doesn't mean they're going to jump up and announce their sexuality; they will still fear for their safety. I think the population of the armed forces has a higher percentage of homophobic people than the general population.

I was just talking to a co-worker yesterday about this issue. He's a pretty nice guy, former Marine, from a diverse city....and he's not comfortable with gays in the military. Luckily, he's a nice guy. There are a lot of sailors/soldiers/Marines who are not nice people, and service members are still beaten and killed for being gay. That will continue, because bullies and murderers don't care about the law.

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