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Orienteering the orientation debate

Catherine Floyd, ’Doah Staff Writer
February 6, 2013

'Doah photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

‘Doah photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

This past week, the Boy Scouts of America announced that they are considering lifting the ban on having homosexual scouts and leaders in the organization. When news of this broke, many supporters of the Boy Scouts, that consist mainly of church groups, were outraged over the idea of removing the ban.

The group, which is over 100-years-old, and has over 2.7 million members, had previously been opposed to members openly stating their sexual preference. Since last April, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) has been contacting the Boy Scouts headquarters to convince them to remove the ban. Though many religious organizations are heavily affiliated with the Boy Scouts, and could possibly have an affect on the decision, the fact that they are even considering changing is a great sign of progress.

Groups like the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts help mold children into the adults they will grow into one day. The skills and ideas that they develop while participating in these groups will remain with them for the rest of their lives. So, why teach children at a young age to hide who they are? There have been gay members in the Boy Scouts before, but they were unable to make their sexual preference known without the risk of being kicked out. Having a different sexuality than the norm shouldn’t determine whether or not you are allowed in an organization, especially if it is one that is recognized for building character and life-long friendships.

As boys within the organization grow into teenagers and mature into men, they are forming bonds with those in their troops. They spend many hours carrying out activities and going on retreats together, and over time they develop an incredibly close bond. Telling gay members that they have to hide a part of who they are from their friends flies in the face of everything the Boy Scouts stands for.

Times are changing, the world is slowly becoming a place where it is more acceptable to love someone of any race or sex. Children should be taught at a young age not to discriminate towards others, and they should not have to fear being kicked out of something they love just for who they are.

The Boy Scouts of America board will meet in the upcoming weeks to decide whether or not to lift the ban. There have been reports of individual troops protesting the idea, and if the ban is lifted that may mean some internal conflict for the organization. When they are making the decision, the future should be kept in mind. If any organization, not just Boy Scouts, publicly accepts those for who they are, children can grow up with a stronger sense of community, equally recognizing individuals no matter their sexual orientation.

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