Last week, Ryan Andresen delivered more than 400,000 Chnage.org petition signatures to Mt. Dialbo-Silverado Boy Scout Council in Pleasant Hill. Today you can see Ryan and his mom speak out against the Boy Scout of America's ban on gay scouts and scout leaders with Anderson Cooper.
GLAAD was with Change.org, Ryan and his mom in NYC. Watch their interview with Anderson Cooper below:
Ryan was expelled from his local Boy Scout troop due to his sexual orientation and in spite of the fact that he’d served the troop for more than 12 years, completing every necessary requirement to become an Eagle Scout, he was unfairly denied his Eagle Scout medal.
Karen Andresen, Ryan’s mother started the petition to garner support for her son and overturn the decision. She stated,
“My son Ryan is my hero. He’s so incredibly brave, smart, and talented. It hurts me so much to watch Ryan suffer for being who he is, because to me, he's perfect.” She continues, “Ryan has worked for nearly 12 years to become an Eagle Scout, and nothing would make him more proud than earning that well-deserved distinction.”
Ryan took on a remarkable responsibility when he completed his capstone project by assembling a “Tolerance Wall” to address bullying. Unfortunately, his sexual orientation led to hurtful discrimination and removal from the Boy Scouts, where he had served proudly and diligently. You can find a copy of the letter that addresses his removal, here.
During the petition delivery and interview with Anderson Cooper, Ryan made it clear that he was not only representing himself, but other Scouts like himself, who also face discrimination and will continue to face discrimination if pracitices like this persist.
“In defending their hurtful policy against gay people, the Boy Scouts are pushing young men like me away-- young men who really need the Boy Scouts. I wasn’t the first person to suffer under this policy, and until the Boy Scouts change their policy, I won’t be the last,” said Ryan.
As it stands, the Mt. Diablo-Silverado Council defends their national ban on gay Scouts from participating. You can view Ryan's petition at Change.org.