Boy Scouts | Discrimination | GLAAD | Jennifer Tyrrell | News

Gay Den Mother Removed by Boy Scouts Demands End to Discrimination in Moving GLAAD Speech: VIDEO


Jennifer Tyrrell, the Ohio den mother who was removed by the Boy Scouts two weeks ago after the local district council learned she was gay, gave a powerful and emotional speech at the GLAAD Awards in Los Angeles over the weekend with her partner Alicia Burns, and her children by her side.


JtTyrrell, whose trip to Los Angeles was her first time on a plane, said that "we couldn't imagine that we would be here."

Of the Boy Scouts' rejection, she said:

"There was an outcry from the parents who were beside themselves about this and the total disregard that I have to tell my 7-year-old son that his mother can no longer participate in his scouting adventures. Cruz wasn't raised to discriminate. He doesn't understand. I taught all my scouts, just accept people for who they are. I hope that my story will help other kids and parents stand for these values."

TyrrellAdded a tearful Tyrrell:

"One of my parents texted me a few days ago and said, 'I want to thank you for bringing awareness to my prejudice. I'm ashamed of the way I used to feel about gay people.' And I thought to myself, 'if that's the only person that I have changed, then that's huge.'

A petition on has more than 118,000 (as of this posting) signatures demanding Tyrrell be reinstated. Josh Hutcherson, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Glee’s Max Adler and Grant Gustin were among the celebrities who showed support for the petition, which asks the BSA to end their long-held policy that forbids lesbian, gay bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth and gay LGBT leaders from participating in scouting.

Organizations including the Girl Scouts of America, the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, as well as the 4H Club all welcome LGBT kids as well as LGBT adult leaders.

Watch Tyrrell's speech, AFTER THE JUMP...


Sign the petition HERE.

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  1. her speech was lovely. she's a rather excellent example of a woman and a parent.

    the boy scouts do themselves and the young men they hope to "help shape" any favours by clinging to archaic old bigotries. this is not how you raise young men to be conscientious and productive members of society.

    and josh hutcherson is a rad lil'ally. he's a solid actor, he's a terrific outspoken advocate for our community (and pitbulls!) and i'm sure he's helping inspire his legions of young fans to join us all as Allies.

    this is how we win :D

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | Apr 23, 2012 10:34:40 AM

  2. wow - this woman moved me to tears

    Posted by: Disgusted American | Apr 23, 2012 11:02:58 AM

  3. I feel for her and deplore the BSA's ongoing discrimination, which brings up a question. Surely she knew about the notorious policies of the BSA? Personally, I would have chosen an alternative to the Boy Scouts.

    Posted by: romeo | Apr 23, 2012 11:08:18 AM

  4. Either I'm being gaslighted, or Andy decided to re-set the tone... Either way, I'm glad that the original first comment is gone!

    Posted by: TJ | Apr 23, 2012 11:34:25 AM

  5. TJ! that's MY phrase!!!

    omg, gaslighted. oldschool. LOVESIT.

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | Apr 23, 2012 11:36:42 AM

  6. Well, KIWI, I actually am old school. ;>)

    Gotsta love a whippersnapper with an appreciation of the classics!

    Posted by: TJ | Apr 23, 2012 11:45:23 AM

  7. Most Americans, even those who participated in the BSA in their youth, are unaware that it's the Mormon and Catholic churches who dictate the Boy Scouts' policies about gays. Many of the troops across the US may be unaffiliated with a church or with protestant churches but the BSA's policies are dictated from Salt Lake City and Rome, which is quite different from the perceived Norman Rockwell image of the organization.

    The BSA is likely to change about the same time those churches do, which is to say "Don't hold your breath." There needs to be a schism, a splintering and formation of a new group without the hateful policies of the old one or things will never change.

    Posted by: Caliban | Apr 23, 2012 12:08:34 PM

  8. Romeo,

    Perhaps she should have picked an alternative, but she had good reason to believe that it wouldn't be an issue. To quote Tyrell in an earlier interview:

    "I didn’t necessarily want to be involved in an organization that had those views. I didn’t want my children to be exposed to that particular type of atmosphere. I expressed those concerns on my very first day there. I was told by the cubmaster that there would be no problem, that yes, there is the BSA policy, but that locally everybody would be accepted. And I was accepted by all."

    Posted by: RLavigueur | Apr 23, 2012 12:13:27 PM

  9. To those who question why she would allow her child to join BSA: what do you say to a child whose friends are in scouting and wants to join, especially when you have been told by your local troop that it is OK?

    Posted by: Gay Dad ATL | Apr 23, 2012 12:59:41 PM

  10. It is the Boy Scouts - They kick eagle scouts out for being gay. That is what a lesbian mom tells her child. Do not make the child a pawn to the end which you know will happen.

    Posted by: Gary | Apr 23, 2012 1:08:22 PM

  11. It's a terrific speaker who can reach out from a video & squeeze my heart until it hurts. This mom is da bomb! And to GARY - seriously?

    Posted by: Leroy Laflamme | Apr 23, 2012 1:36:02 PM

  12. Gay Dad - I would say this:

    "Sometimes there are very good people out there who make promises that they really believe they can keep. But sometimes it isn't up to them. If you join the scouts, you have to remember: the big bosses might not be okay with it if they find out that you have two moms. They might say some really awful things about us. If you still want to go, then that's fine, but just remember that this could happen no matter how good a scout you are or how much you want to be there."

    Posted by: Yeek | Apr 23, 2012 2:11:34 PM

  13. Shut up, Gary. Just shut up.

    Posted by: YourMom | Apr 23, 2012 2:14:18 PM

  14. The Boy Scouts....geesh!! - Why not try joinging the Catholic Church in the Vatican becasue your son wants to be an alter boy. Welcome to the United States of America. WAKE UP!!

    Posted by: Gary | Apr 24, 2012 2:39:50 AM

  15. It will be interesting to see how this plays out. After all the scouts take the position of no gays because it will lead to men molesting the boys. Hardly likely in this case. Not that it's very likely in the other case either.

    Posted by: unreligious | Apr 24, 2012 12:12:27 PM

  16. Unreligious, we've allowed the BSA to twist this issue, to define the discussion and make it about gay "Scoutmasters" when that's really not the central issue. They play upon parents' valid fears about their children being sexually abused, making it sound as if there would be drag queens and leather men lined up around the block to start up a RuPaul Rangers troop if they allowed gays.

    But the REAL issue isn't about letting gays INTO scouting, it's about not kicking them (us) OUT. Were any other commenters here scouts? I was. I don't know if and how many school districts allow this now, but the Scouts came to the school to recruit and I joined in 2nd grade. MOST Scouts join as "Cubs" when they're in elementary school, before they have a clue about their sexual orientation or identity. It was also never presented as a religious organization and I don't remember religion ever being part of the activities, though there were probably prayers spoken here and there. But later, if you come to understand that you are gay you learn that no matter how good a Scout you are, how many merit badges you've earned, etc. that because you are gay you're unacceptable and they kick you out. THAT is the real issue here.

    Posted by: Caliban | Apr 24, 2012 12:47:29 PM

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