social justice

An Open Letter to Boy Scouts- on their blatant discrimination, bigotry, and inequity

Dear Boy Scouts,

As a Girl Scout myself, I do believe that programs like these provide a valuable experience for youth by aiding in the development of leadership and teamwork skills, promoting physical and mental fitness, and by providing unique opportunities for participants. However, there is a major and sickening difference between the two programs. While Girl Scouts preaches a message of inclusion regardless of gender identity, sexuality, race, and embraces all participants for their unique individuality, Boy Scouts continues to demonstrate an appalling amount of blatant homophobia, transphobia, racism, and partisanship.

Even though Boy Scouts claims to now officially accept gay participants, the fine print of this policy still allows certain religion-based troops to discriminate against LGBTQ+ individuals. This policy does not protect or promote inclusion, but allows homophobic and transphobic troops a loophole to continue their practice of bigotry and exclusion. This policy will only truly be inclusive once LGBTQ+ participants are protected from all discrimination on a consistent basis. With in the past few days, a young Cub Scout was kicked out of Secaucus’ Pack 87 in New Jersey because of his transgender identity. No child deserves to be humiliated and excluded because of who they are. The Boy Scouts’ official website itself states that “The BSA provides a program for young people that builds character, trains them in the responsibilities of participating citizenship, and develops personal fitness.” What part of those program goals would reasonably prevent a young boy, who happens to be transgender, from participating in Boy Scouts? The obvious discrimination and transphobia in this situation is disgusting. I urge the BSA to formally apologize to this young boy and his family for the humiliation and unfair exclusion they have been subjected to.

Not only have the Boy Scouts discriminated against LGBTQ+ individuals but appalling cases of anti-first nations/native american practices, racism, and cultural appropriation still continue within the organization. The practice known as “The Order of the Arrow” is a somewhat secret society type group with in Boy Scouts in which admirable scouts are allowed to join. This group participates in the racist appropriation of Native American ceremonies by dressing up as Native American people. This practice is incredibly disrespectful to Native American religions and further validates often incorrect stereotypes regarding Native American culture. It is clear that these practices and corresponding workshops are coming from a white point of view considering that many are run by “The American Indian Hobbyist’. Continuing to push the concept of “Manifest Destiny”, the idea that white men were destined to be superior on American soil and forcefully remove Native American’s from their homelands, is in fact a racist and problematic ideal that is still promoted by the BSA. Boy Scouts should put an end to this practice if they are to end their openly racist and anti-native practices . If the BSA wishes to honor and respect Native American culture, action should be taken to prevent the erasure of Native American culture and to focus on REAL issues plaguing the Native American community.

I am in no way trying to throw all participating Boy Scouts under the bus as being racist, homophobic, etc. but I AM urging scouts to take action and raise their voices against the injustice promoted by their organization.

The time for change is now.

Sincerely,

Bekah

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