Scouts Take Action!
Scouts for Equality
"Since 1991, the Boy Scouts of America has barred openly gay individuals from participating in its program at any level. Scouts for Equality will lead a respectful, honest dialogue with current and former Scouts and Scout Leaders about ending this outdated policy. By embodying the values of the Scout Oath and Law, we believe we can restore the social relevancy of one of this country’s great cultural institutions: the Boy Scouts of America."
Eagle Scouts make a stand for equality
In response to the Boy Scouts of America's decision to maintain its ban on gay scouts and LGBT leaders, some Eagle Scouts have decided to take a stand in a way only Eagle Scouts would be able to. Several adult Eagle Scouts have begun mailing their American Boy Scouting's Eagle Scout award back to the organization with letters criticizing the Boy Scouts' anti-gay policies.
Check out the Flickr gallery below to see some photos compiled by Maggie Koerth-Baker at boingboing of letters being sent to the scouts.
Are you an Eagle Scout who wants to return your medal to the BSA?
Mail your medal to:
BSA National Executive Board
1325 Walnut Hill Lane
PO Box 152079
Irving, Texas 75015-2079
Already returned your badge?
Send your letter to us and we will feature it on our site!
Check out these images of letters sent to the Boy Scouts of America
Eagle Scouts that have returned their badges to the Boy Scouts
Name: Kelsey Timmerman
Location: Muncie, Indiana
"The independence, confidence, leadership, and moral compass that Scouts instilled in me, forces me to speak out against their discrimination against gay boys and leaders. When they decide to change their policies, they can mail my Eagle badge back to me."
Name: Amélie Koran
Location: Washington, D.C
"I AM one of those people you find it fit to exclude from scouting, as I am an transgender woman. I AM living my life with integrity and honesty. I wished you would allow others to as well, and stop your bigotry and exclusionary practices."
Name: David Basham
Location: Santa Barbara
"To exclude a child, or anyone else, from Scouting simply because he or she was born a certain way is absolutely inexcusable and unforgivable. I returned my medal in support of, and in solidarity with, all the boys, fathers, and mothers that are currently banned from the BSA."
Name: Jackson Cooper
Location: Louisville, Ky
"Upon learning that the BSA had reaffirmed its policy of excluding gay scouts and leaders, I wanted to make clear to my friends and family that I no longer support the organization. It broke my heart to think that I had devoted so much of my life to an organization that would have excluded my own mother, a lesbian, if her orientation had been known at the time."
Name: Kyle Evens
Location: Brooklyn, NY
"It is heartbreaking to me that an organization that so profoundly affected me as a youth is unavailable to those who could perhaps benefit from its structure and camaraderie the most. Teenagers who grow up gay are four times more likely to take their own lives. This fact has nothing to do with the nature of sexuality - in fact, suicide rates are lower where gay kids are accepted. Rather, the turmoil and abuse gay kids face growing up stubbornly persists in our society because it is implicitly sanctioned by policies such as yours, which buttress the fallacy that homosexuals aren't as good as their straight peers."
Name: Matthew Hallion
Location: Swampscott, MA
"Scouting was very important to me during my formative years. It was one of the only outlets I had for camping, as my mother didn’t enjoy it. It gave me lifelong friends. My best friend and best man at my wedding is someone I might never have met if it weren’t for scouts. It taught me things I use to this day; every time I tie our Christmas tree to the roof of our car, every time I truss a chicken to get it ready for roasting, when I put up a rope swing in the backyard for my 7 year old son. In fact, every time I hold a length of rope or string, my hands know what to do with it, which knot or hitch is the right one to use for the occasion, all because of the knots I learned more than 20 years ago at Wild Goose camp. I’m deeply saddened to think that my two wonderful sons will not have the opportunity to have the same important and life-changing experiences that I did because the exclusionary policies of the Boy Scouts will prevent them from being members."
Name: Ben Howe
Location: Somerville, MA
"I decided to send back my Eagle Scout badge after wrestling with the issue for about a year. I'm just appalled that such a truly great organization that helped to shape my ethics, values, and worldview would so openly engage in discrimination. Hearing about the recent decision made up my mind. It's the most powerful message I feel I can send."
Name: John W. Lawson
Location: Cincinnati, OH
"Scouting instilled in me the values of the Boy Scout Law. It is those same tenets, those same ideals that have guided me to this most difficult decision that my Eagle Scout Badge, an honor I earned must be relinquished as well as my personal loyalties abandoned to this organization that is teaching discrimination and intolerance."
Name: Matt Munley
Location: Chicago, IL.
"Unfortunately, it’s now with a heavy heart that I must do what time and the strain of the world tried so hard to do: I must break from my brothers; my lifelong friends. I can no longer stand with them as a proud Eagle Scout. Though I will retain the values, morals and skills that scouting has taught me, I cannot, in good conscience, remain an Eagle. That honor has been corrupted by the BSA’s blatant discrimination and bigotry."
Name: Will O'Neill
Location: Washington, D.C
"I find it unconscionable that an organization that teaches young men to be honest would deny anyone participation because they were honest about who they are."
Name: John Ramsburg
Location: Maplewood, NJ
"I will simply state that I cannot reconcile what I was taught as a Cub, Webelo, and Boy Scout with your current position on homosexual members. I can only hope that this barbaric discriminatory policy will be reversed in time for my son to join the scouts. Regardless, I will still teach him and his sister the core tenants of scouting: respect for the earth, country and above all else, their fellow man."
Name: George Sands
Location: New York, NY
"I really think the Boy Scouts were and are wrong, and I wanted to point out that I don't support their policy of discrimination. I thought the best way that I could do that was to return my medal, and I challenged them to do the right thing -- and to be brave, like a Boy Scout.
All individuals should have the right to be Scouts, worthy of respect and inclusion, and it shouldn't matter what your orientation is. As long as one person is kept from scouting because of a personal characteristic, then I don't want to be an Eagle Scout. I returned my medal to protest this injustice."
Name: Kyle Tiemeier
Location: Phoenix, Arizona
"I cannot bear to support an organization that endorses such profound intolerance and discrimination. The very values the Boy Scouts of America helped me develop—integrity, service and commitment to my fellow man—are what lead me to be ashamed of my affiliation now. You will find my Eagle Badge enclosed in this letter."
Name: Rob Tornoe
Location: Newark, Delaware
"It was a difficult decision to mail back my Eagle Scout badge and renounce my association with the Boy Scouts, an organization I have benifited greatly from throughout my life. In the end, as proud as I was of achievements, I could no longer continue to be an Eagle Scout if a young man who happens to be gay can't also be one."
Name: Bryan Vierow
Location: Seattle, WA
"Upon learning of their policy (neither I nor any of my family who were heavily involved in my scouting experience knew at the time) I decided that I could not stand by while good people are excluded just because of who they love. It was a hard decision, but I finally realized that, rather than wanting to have the awards later in life for nostalgia reasons, I would be far more disappointed in myself if I did not do this. I've been so touched by the support I've received for my actions and this cause, and hope that we as Eagles Scouts can stand together for basic human rights and the values we were taught, and get this policy changed."
Name: Bruce Watson
Location: New York, NY
"I believe that, at its core, the Boy Scouts represents the best of America -- its greatest optimism, its highest ideals, and the fundamental belief that, by putting other people first, we can make the world a better place. By denying gays the opportunity to involve themselves in its mission, the Boy Scouts betrays its ideals and disadvantages not only the people it leaves out but also the scouts it leaves behind, who will be denied the growth and education that only true diversity can provide."
Current Eagle Scouts that support ending the ban against gay troops and leaders in the Boy Scouts
Name: Justin Bickford
Location: Gainesville, FL
"The policies of discrimination that BSA has chosen to maintain go against everything that I learned as an Eagle Scout. For the sake of the organization, and all those that are kept from its ranks, I hope that they change their policy to one of acceptance. BSA has so much to offer all boys and young men, and it is a shame that BSA chooses to push away some of the people that could use that support the most."
Since April 2012, GLAAD has been leading the national campaign urging the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) to end its ban on gay Scouts and adult leaders. See milestones from this campaign and learn more.
Your organization can help bring equality to the Boy Scouts. Find out how you and your members can take action
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