On Sunday, the iconic Pride March in New York City and its 14,000+ participants were led, in an historic first, by Boy Scouts members and leaders.
Three generations of Boy Scouts -- gay and straight -- were in uniform at the nation's oldest and largest LGBT Pride event, where they presented the American flag during the national anthem and served as Color Guard during the march.
Among those marching were Pascal Tessier, a 17-year-old Eagle Scout who is openly gay; Greg Bourke, former associate scoutmaster who was ousted for being gay; David Knapp, 88, who first became a Boy Scout in 1938 at the age of 12, and, as an adult, was ousted as district executive for being openly gay; and Crystal Bueno, an active leader in scouting, mother of young Boy Scouts, and ally to the LGBT community.
Crystal, who participated in the Color Guard with her six- and eight-year-old boys by her side, spoke at a press conference before the march. Also at the press conference were Laverne Cox and Islan Nettles' mom Delores, as well as Jonathan Groff, among others.
Greg told the New York Times:
“I want gay parents to have the opportunity to scout with their children,” said Greg Bourke, 56, who said he was forced to step down as a leader of his son’s troop in Kentucky two years ago after local Scouts officials learned he was gay and threatened to revoke the troop’s charter. “Adult leaders should have the same opportunities as everyone else has to take part in an organization that’s a bedrock of America.”
Since 1978, the BSA has held a policy that excluded gay youth and parents from participating in the program. On May 23rd, 2013, more than 1,200 members of the BSA National Council voted to end the organization's policy barring gay youth from participation. Gay and lesbian leaders are still barred from participating
GLAAD first started calls for the Boy Scouts of America to end its ban on gay Scouts and Scout leaders in April 2012 after Jennifer Tyrrell, a mom and den leader from Ohio was removed from her 7-year-old's Cub Scout pack for being gay. Tyrrell's Change.org petition attracted more than 350,000 signatures in support of ending the Boy Scouts' ban on gay Scouts and adult leaders. More than two million people have joined Change.org petition campaigns since Tyrrell launched her first petition.
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