As “woke” as I am I still had to wrap my head around it when I first heard: the Boy Scouts of America would be admitting girls.
All of my early childhood sexual experiences were with other boy scouts.
So there’s an adolescent sexual fantasy attached to those memories.
James Dale lost a case that went all the way to the Supreme Court back in 2000.
Boy Scouts of America et al v. Dale 530 U.S. 640 (2000) was heard by the Supreme Court on April 26, 2000, and the decision was announced on June 28. In a 5–4 decision, the Court sided with the BSA and overturned the New Jersey Supreme Court’s decision which had said that Dale who was an Eagle Scout and came out as a scout leader was subsequently fired.
Like Dale, I too was an Eagle Scout, and it’s hard to articulate to non-scouts the significance it can play in your lives–yet the very ethos it engenders are directly at odds with any kind of discrimination.
I saw Dale last year and we spoke about it.
TLRD: How do you feel just like in retrospect, not only do they allow gay boy scouts, but they allow trans boy scouts, did you ever for see this coming because I didn’t when we talked all those years ago.
James Dale: I mean I think I foresaw that the world would change. I was skeptical at points if the boy scouts were going to change with the rest of the world but I think that the forces for good within the program have won out, there is also a pragmatic parts to this as well. The boy scouts couldn’t be the organization they once were if they continued to exclude and discriminate. Its really about, you know it’s amazing. Just the transformation that has taken place since 2012 when the supreme court ruled against me by one vote. To where we are now with the progress that has taken place in the world. Really though even an event like this is so essential because I remember when I came out in the 80’s seeing the community center in NYC was something that give me the self-pride and worth. Just to see a place where individuals come together to support each other and reflect all shapes and sizes in the diversity of our community. So I think community centers are really the building blocks of what we do so I’m happy to be involved and doing that.
And in many places like the Laurel Highlands Council headquarters in Pittsburgh we are seeing how the programs are working in execution as a report on NPR said.
Laurel Highlands Council Scouting Executive and CEO Sharon Moulds said the most common question is whether these older scouts troops will be co-ed. “There are girl troops and there are boy troops,” Moulds said. “Generally what people are concerned about is they think they’re going to merge together … that’s never going to happen.”
Within the Boy Scouts, Moulds says there was also some early resistance to allowing girls, but Moulds said most members have come around.
“It’s kind of a mix because we have some … grandfathers, and they’re saying, ‘Oh, I can get my granddaughter in,'” she said. “They absolutely want their granddaughters to have the same opportunities.”
“They’re excited about having the opportunity to do what they’ve seen their brothers do or the other boys do,” Moulds said. “I think a lot of them, what we’re seeing is that they just want to be Eagle Scouts.”