Bil Browning

Local scouting delimma

Filed By Bil Browning | October 03, 2005 2:52 AM | comments

Filed in: The Movement

Ruth Holliday's column in yesterday's Indy Star is about a gay man who wanted to lead his son's Boy Scout troop, but was denied. Not only that, he was told he wasn't welcome at an event held at a public school.
The next day, Wendling called Mike Cimarossa, the dad in charge of the recruitment meeting, and told him he was gay. Cimarossa called Scout officials. Although personally supportive, Cimarossa said, he had to give Wendling the word: He could not lead the troop. He could not even attend an upcoming overnight event at school with his son.

A reasonable man, Wendling said he understands the BSA position. "Part of me says I don't like it, but I get it -- private organizations can exclude."

But how can the Scouts tell him he's not welcome at Scout events at school, he asks? Why should a private group be allowed to use a public facility to exclude him?

The questions are familiar to Gina Farrar, director of public and corporate relations for the local Crossroads of America Council of BSA.

Maybe it's just me, but I just don't get it. First, what gay man in America signs their kid up for Boy Scouts anyhow? This is an organization that took their right to say "Fuck you faggot!" all the way to the Supreme Court. Your kid is not going to be indoctrinated with goodness and light at the Boy Scouts. His family - his father(s)/mother(s), siblings and probably himself - are going to be ridiculed and denigrated by the leadership of the organization. Are you just trying to set little Johnny up for therapy?

And secondly, what self-respecting queer says what Wendling is quoted as saying? Let's break that down "Part of me says I don't like it..." Part? Part of you thinks it's okay to discriminate against yourself and others like you? Part of you buys into the hypocritical nonsense that is modern day scouting? "I get it - private organizations can exclude." Yeah, let's see how far that gets the country club that doesn't allow black or Jewish members. That's what civil rights laws are all about - that private organizations don't always have the right to discriminate. And how "private" are they when they recruit in the public schools as well as hold sleep-overs and meetings in the schools - but you're not wanted there?

Fer' Christ's sake... Sign the kid up for Boys and Girls Club. Join the YMCA if it allows for family memberships (some don't). But don't support the BSA. They're rotten from the top down.

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AUTHOR: steph Mineart

DATE: 10/03/2005 08:57:25 AM

Thank you! I get so frustrated at gay people who buy into their own descrimination that I'm weary and speechless in the face of it. You laid out the issue clearly and succinctly... I think you should also post this one to the gayindy list, because it couldn't hurt to have more people frame these ideas in their heads.


DATE: 10/03/2005 11:37:00 AM

Hmm. Since I don't fall into the liberal or conservative camps, and don't belong to any poltical party, I'll have to let the part of me that's a little more libertarian speak. I think private organizations should be allowed to have whoever they want as members. Now before you go and jump on my case - which I know people love to do -- ask yourself, when was the last time Club Indy or The Works allowed women to join?

AUTHOR: Bil Browning

DATE: 10/03/2005 01:01:48 PM

Using Club Indy and the Works is subterfuge. Women's Only Fitness also fits into this category. Health clubs have long been able to work within a certain-gender only exclusion policy because their is nakedness (privacy) issues. Supposedly, there isn't any showering/general nakedness at a Boy Scouts meeting.The Boy Scouts recruit in public schools. They hold meetings in public schools, parks and libraries. They get tax breaks from local government as well as sweetened deals on park space, campground rental, etc. Most of the time scouting packs are ran by religious organizations. This father was not only told he couldn't lead the pack - he wasn't even allowed to go to a public school to help chaperone the sleep-over. This can only buy into the crazy notion that all gay men are pedophiles. What other rational thought process can be behind this? Since when did the BSA get to decide who got to use our public schools?