While Boy Scouts maintain ban, other organizations embrace diversity

The Boy Scouts of America last week announced its decision to maintain a ban on gay scouts and LGBT leaders, thus putting itself at odds with other scouting organizations that embrace LGBT people.

The same week that the Boy Scouts decided to maintain its ban, the Girl Scouts of the USA published a blog titled “Inclusion: Past, Present and Future” that said:

Girl Scouts of the USA and its local councils and troops value diversity and inclusiveness and do not discriminate or recruit on the basis of race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, national origin, or physical or developmental disability.

The Girl Scouts of Colorado gained national attention when it released a statement affirming its acceptance of a transgender girl. The statement said:

“Girl Scouts is an inclusive organization and we accept all girls in Kindergarten through 12th grade as members. If a child identifies as a girl and the child's family presents her as a girl, Girl Scouts of Colorado welcomes her as a Girl Scout.”

Camp Fire USA President Cathy Tisdale last week wrote a piece for the New York Times in response to the Boy Scouts’ decision to maintain its anti-gay policies. Tisdale pointed out that her organization is “open to everyone” and said it embraces “all youth and their families, regardless of ethnicity, race, creed, gender, social status, disability or sexual orientation.”

The Scouting Association, the United Kingdom’s version of the scouts, has an equal opportunities policy that is inclusive of LGBT people. The organization’s website even has tools available for LGBT scouts and leaders.

The Boy Scouts’ anti-gay policies have been protested by numerous individuals, even members of the group’s founder’s own family. William Boyce Mueller, the grandson of William D. Boyce, came out in the early 90s and created an organization called Forgotten Scouts. Mueller said his grandfather "would not have wanted to see me excluded from Scouting because of my sexual orientation.”


Organizations outside the scouting world have also taken a stand for inclusion. The 4-H Youth and Development Program includes both gender identity and sexual orientation in its non-discrimination policy, and the Boys & Girls Club confirmed to GLAAD via phone that it is LGBT-inclusive.

Earlier this year, the Miss Universe pageant worked with GLAAD to ensure the inclusion of transgender contestants in its competitions.

In the sporting world, moves are being made toward diversity and inclusion. The NBA's new collective bargaining agreement, which was signed in December 2011, includes language protecting players from discrimination based on sexual orientation. Some of the biggest names in the NHL were featured in a public service announcement promoting equality within the sport. 

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Major League Soccer announced Friday that it will not renew its partnership with the Boy Scouts of America. MLS President Mark Abbott:

“Major League Soccer’s agreement with the Boy Scouts of America expires at the end of the 2012 season and MLS does not intend the renew the agreement for a variety of business reasons.”