Garrett Bryant is an Eagle Scout who kept the fact that he was gay a secret. However, when he was accidentally outed on Facebook, he suddenly lost his summer job working at a Boy Scout camp.
The Boy Scouts of America last summer voted to change its policy banning gay Scouts, but keeping the ban in place for gay adult leaders. Since Garrett was 19 years old, he was told that because he engaged in "homosexuality," he could not work for the BSA.
NBC News shares the story:
“I viewed my sexuality as something I was going to keep private. It was my private life. I wasn’t going to share it with the BSA,” Bryant said, noting he did that because he loved Scouting and didn’t want to leave the program. “They made an issue of my sexuality. I was perfectly content with staying in the closet with the Scouts.”
For Bryant, who started attending the summer camp as an 11-year-old Boy Scout, being dropped has been hard. “It’s like you’re a part of a family and you’re being disowned from it,” he said.
Some observers viewed the policy shift as BSA’s attempt to find middle ground, but many opponents and supporters of the change were left dissatisfied.
The new policy also put gay youth like Bryant in a bind. He can continue to participate as a member in one of Scouting’s programs – Venturing, a high-adventure, coed group that defines youth as 14 to 21 years old. But at age 18 he would be considered an adult in BSA’s other programs, like Boy Scouts. That means adult volunteers and workers must meet the adult membership standards, which prohibit “open or avowed” homosexuals from participating.
Ed Henderson, who has more than 25 years’ experience on BSA summer camp staffs and is webmaster for Scoutcamp.org, said some youth coming out as gay at or before 18 now “are going to find the welcome mat rolled up for them being on camp staff.” The teens were likely to have a social media trail that could reveal their sexual orientation, he said.