Next week, 1400 members of the Boy Scouts' National Council will converge in Dallas for the organization's vote to decide whether or not to end the Scouts' ban on gay youth. GLAAD will be providing a variety of actions you can take to make a real difference on this issue leading up to the vote.
Now, more than ever, your voice can truly help contribute to the local opinion about why gay youth and parents should be able to participate in the Boy Scouts. By writing your local papers and news outlets, you can help us reach the full conversation and explain this issue in a way that makes sense for your community. The voting members of the Boy Scouts National Council are also members of your community, and how they vote depends on your feedback. By writing a Letter to the Editor to your local paper you can make the case for inclusive policies to members of your community you might not otherwise reach.
You can use the guide and template below to lend your voice in support of Scouting for all but be sure to localize the discussion and to add in your own passions on the issue. It's very important that you stick within the guidelines for a Letter to the Editor piece, though, as newspapers won't choose to print something that doesn't match their format. Be sure that you:
- Pick a target. Find a newspaper or print publication in your area and check to see if they accept Letter to the Editor. Most outlets provide instructions on their website.
- Know the word limit. Generally, Letters to the Editor are very short and limited to 100-150 words. Word limits are usually listed on the outlet's website.
- Get to the point. If you write your own Letter to the Editor, state your position in the first few sentences and explain why the Boy Scouts should end its ban on gay Scouts. If you have personal connection to the Boy Scouts, say so. If you are a person of faith, name your denomination or tradition.
- Sign your name. An outlet will almost never run a Letter to the Editor from an anonymous source.
You can find your local newspapers' contact information at: http://www.usnpl.com
Be sure to send us a copy of your letter to firstname.lastname@example.org!
Letter to the Editor template:
For over a century, the Boy Scouts of America has helped shape the characters of countless young men, empowering our nation's youth and cultivating future leaders.
Now, the Boy Scouts stand at an important crossroads as the organization prepares to vote on whether it should allow gay Scouts to participate.
To deny a young man the opportunity to enjoy the rich benefits of Scouting, simply because he's gay, is wrong. Scouting teaches our children about bravery, honesty, and upstanding citizenship – values that leave no room for discrimination.
As members of the Boy Scouts National Council meet in Dallas later this month to vote on inclusion, they would do well to remember that Scouting is a program that fosters leadership, and unless the Boy Scouts move to accept all members – gay or straight – the organization will be left behind a growing majority who already support equality for everyone.
[Your city, state]
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 original Change.org petition has attracted more than 343,000 signatures in support of ending the Boy Scouts’ ban on gay Scouts and leaders. Tyrrell, together with GLAAD, has launched a new petition to urge the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) to completely lift its anti-gay ban on both youth members and adult employees and volunteers. To take action on this issue please visit www.glaad.org/denmother. For more on GLAAD's work on this campaign, including a timeline of key events, visit www.glaad.org/scouts.