Boy Scouts | Derek Nance | Discrimination | News

Boy Scout Camp Leader Comes Out in YouTube Video, Speaks Out Against Anti-Gay Policies: VIDEO


Derek Nance, a program director at the Mataguay Scout Ranch in Southern California, where he has worked for 10 years, came out of the closet yesterday in a YouTube video. Nance says he decided to come out because his entire life revolves around the community he has built at his job with the BSA, yet he is forced to keep a secret.


Says Nance:

"I am gay... I'm open to all my friends and family in real life, but the people I truly feel closest to, I've had to remain distant. Which is why I've chosen this moment to open up to them, and to every other staff member of the Boy Scouts of America who is in the same position I am in. The only way we will change the Boy Scouts' discriminatory policies is if those of us who are on the front lines representing them to thousands of scouts every single summer start engaging in some open dialogue on this issue. Lawsuits by the ACLU or confidential reviews by the Boy Scouts are not going to change policies. The first step to coming to an agreement on this issue is to drop the old pretenses and stereotypes and to start actually talking."

Nance says "he wants his legacy to be more than the programs he created and changed" at Mataguay, When the time comes, Nance wants the staff at Mataguay and the BSA summer camps across the U.S. to be the first to accept out gay staff leaders. Until that time, however, Nance says his uniform will hang on the wall waiting for things to get better.

Watch Nance's confession and call to action, AFTER THE JUMP...

Feed This post's comment feed


  1. I've really come to the conclusion that the most tangible way in creating effective change for LGBT lies in.....our hands. And truly boils down to us coming out, and being transparent with those around us.

    I say this from personal experience with my own family. For years I waited hoping, and wishful thinking that with legislative change, and judicial progress, and others speaking in favor of our rights, and elected officials my family admired speaking favorably of us, and even our state passing gay mariage would help that positive mental shift....but nothing. They didn't get it, nor did they want to get it.

    It was all foreign to them.

    UNTIL me- their son, brother, nephew, cousin, grandson, uncle- came out. When I came out, it humanized it all for them. They got it, and by virtue of knowing me they felt like they were almost indirectly part of our community. For some it took longer than others, but almost all of them are accepting and even championing gay rights.

    I helped that happen.

    -Be the change you wish to see. Don't wait for heterosexual politicians and elected officials to mandate a stop on homophobia. Come out, live openly/honestly, and be that change and see what an incredible impact it will have on those around you. THAT is how you make societal change.

    Posted by: Drew Jollard | Jan 18, 2013 9:26:18 AM

  2. @ Drew
    One of the best posts I've ever read on here. Poignant and personal. Thank you for sharing!

    Posted by: Duration & Convexity | Jan 18, 2013 9:27:08 AM

  3. Very touching and so very, very important. Thank you Derek for your strength and courage. We can only imagine how much your honesty has and will cost you, but rest assured, you have unimaginably large support in the LGBT community and beyond.

    Posted by: Alex Parrish | Jan 18, 2013 9:39:48 AM

  4. I wish him love courage and strength.

    Posted by: RobWest | Jan 18, 2013 9:55:45 AM

  5. @Drew--Thanks for writing that. You're so right. I remember when I decided to expand my "coming out" to co-workers, some of my less close friends, and my extended family. Just as it was with my parents and close friends, there was a little time needed for adjustment but now they're almost all supportive of gay rights.

    The most amazing part is that those who remain vehemently opposed to my "lifestyle" have become marginalized. Even if people struggle to understand and support those who are gay, most can recognize when someone is being a bully or jerk to a good person. When you live your life with honesty and kindness and happiness it makes any people who are hateful toward you seem deeply troubled. Eventually that same dynamic is what will drive current BSA leadership and similar groups into obscurity.

    Posted by: Stefan | Jan 18, 2013 10:45:29 AM

  6. Now for the Catholic priests to do the same... And I'll rejoin.

    Posted by: Todd | Jan 18, 2013 12:22:11 PM

  7. Everyone who's been involved in these camps and knows the type of personality that succeeds in this type of role, knows that he is not the "only one". Yet the leadership of the Boy Scouts will cast him out and have him shunned.

    I applaud his courage, but my heart goes out to him, because I know that he will not be able to continue in scouting.

    He is a martyr for a worthwhile cause. Scouting and its Mormon overlords need to be encouraged to change from every angle.

    Posted by: ErstwhileScouter | Jan 18, 2013 1:25:33 PM

  8. Wow. Props to this guy for being so brave (cute and articulate, too). Wish the best for him!

    Posted by: AriesMatt | Jan 18, 2013 2:41:54 PM

  9. You can see how nervous and fearful he is. He's braver than most folks. He states his position well and (I guess) just tendered his resignation.

    I know families who are involved with Scouting, and they are (to a one) some of the most LGBT friendly folks I have ever met. One family actually threw an Engagement Party for me and my soon-to-be hubby.

    It really is sad that the Upper Management of the BSA is so insanely shortsighted. This guy has been an amazing employee (I mean the guy is excited by getting a rock for an award, that's the very definition of a team player).

    I wish him well and hope he finds a terrific job.

    Posted by: SoSeriouslyY | Jan 18, 2013 4:14:07 PM

  10. Dereck? AWESOME...YOU r SOOO Strong, GOOD LUCK to you, now ,an always, stay safe,stay well...CodyJ (ret milt, cwx3)

    Posted by: codyj | Jan 19, 2013 5:22:02 PM

  11. What century are you people living in, in the U.S.A.? Here in Canada I can't remember a time when it was illegal to be a gay boy Scout. I was a Scout for years when I was a kid and had a great time. I feel sorry for this young guy - having to go through this nonsense in the 21st Century. U.S.A. wake up!!

    Posted by: Dave From Canada | Jan 19, 2013 9:10:36 PM

Post a comment


« «Sundance Film Explores Anti-Gay American Evangelism in Uganda: VIDEO« «