Boy Scouts

Most of my postings come from the big news aggregators like Huffpost, Alternet, or from the LA Times, New York Times, etc. This one is from

Personal note. I became a Cub Scout at 9 years of age in South Texas. The Scouts in South Texas were accepting of all boys–as long as they were religious and believed in God. But there were no gay boys in that ancient period. Well, of course there were, but society was so restrictive that they stayed in the closet. In fact at that time, any boy (or girl)who was not thoroughly heterosexual kept it to themselves in their shame. I haven’t done any research to know the actual numbers, but whatever they were, those children’s plight certainly was painful and caused them great damage.  BUT WE DIDN’T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT SEXUAL ORIENTATION in those days. We still thought masturbation would make you blind or insane.

I went on to the Boy Scouts at age 12, Order of the Arrow, all the ranks, etc. I completed all the requirements for Eagle, but had reached the 17 year cutoff just before finishing and couldn’t get that rank. Instead, I became an Assistant Scoutmaster. I continued to be involved in Scouting for many years.

Eventually, however, I began to realize that the Boy Scouts, while they provide many positive factors in a boy’s life, they also indoctrinate an authoritarian and militaristic attitude and an over-respect for the status quo.

While in graduate school, I was working with an organizational consulting firm which had a contract with the Girl Scouts. The contrast was eye-opening. The Girl Scouts were promoting a sense of community, but also a healthy creativity and skepticism of “received wisdom.” This summer, I had the pleasure of being in a demonstration booth with the parrot rescue group, Mickaboo, at a major encampment of Girl Scouts in Alameda, CA. There were 20,000 girls (Thank goodness not all of them came to see our parrots; we were inundated as it was.) They were learning all manner of new ideas and skills, many of them intended to broaden their minds. I have become a strong supporter of the Girl Scouts.

Okay. Enough of my story. Here’s the latest example of the Boy Scouts captivity by the conservative and regressive religious forces. Please consider following the links and signing this petition at This will support Ryan and his mother. It will also send a message to the Boy Scouts that we don’t support their homophobia.
My son Ryan’s Boy Scout troop won’t let him be an Eagle Scout because he’s gay.
Sign My Petition

David –

My son Ryan has been a Boy Scout since he was 6 years old, and now, a few days before his 18th birthday, he has fulfilled all the requirements to be an Eagle Scout. But because Ryan recently came out to his friends and family as gay, leaders from our local Boy Scout troop say they won’t approve Ryan’s Eagle award.

To me, Ryan is perfect. But not everyone treats him that way — in fact, Ryan has been a victim of severe bullying. That’s why, for his final project to become an Eagle Scout, Ryan worked with younger kids to create an anti-bullying “Tolerance Wall” at a local middle school: 288 different tiles showing acts of kindness.

That’s the kind of kid my son is. Instead of lashing out, he helps others feel less alone. That’s why I’m so angry that our local Boy Scout troop leaders want to treat my son as less than other kids just because he’s gay.

I started a petition on asking our local Boy Scout council (near San Francisco) to approve Ryan’s Eagle award. Click here to add your name.

Ryan worked so hard to earn his Eagle Scout rank. For 12 years, he has worked to attain badges, do community service, and become the kind of exemplary young man the Boy Scouts claim to produce. Gay or straight, I love my son just the same. And I don’t want anyone to treat him differently or make him feel bad about himself because of who he is.

Although the national Boy Scouts have remained firm in their anti-gay discrimination, local Boy Scout councils have started to fight back. Several councils even clarified that they will allow gay scouts after they were petitioned to do so on I know that if enough people sign my petition, our local council will give my son Ryan the Eagle Scout award he deserves.

Click here to sign my petition demanding that our local Boy Scout council give my son Ryan his Eagle award.

Thank you for helping me stand up for my son.

Karen Andresen
Moraga, California

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