Lesbian Den Leader Dismissed by Boy Scouts of America

by Intern Kelsie

Equality in this country seems to be tricky business. Sure, LGBT people can vote! Marry each other (in six states of our fifty nifty)! Get elected to public office!

Apparently not on the list? Serve as a den leader for the Boy Scouts.

Jennifer Tyrell, who volunteered to take the position as den leader for her son’s Tiger Scout troop in Ohio, has been forced to resign because she is a lesbian. Tyrell acted as den leader for over a year, a period in which she and her cubs “performed volunteer service at a local soup kitchen, collected canned goods for area churches to distribute in food baskets, participated in bell-ringing for the Salvation Army and… [were currently] working on a conservation project for a state park,” she told the Huffington Post.

To me, all these activities sound great. Teaching America’s children to give to charity, to actively conserve what little environment we have yet to destroy, and to use their privileges in ways that benefit others are all excellent objectives of the Boy Scouts. Simultaneously telling them that some people are less desirable as citizens, inherently less human, than everyone else? Absolutely 100% not okay, Boy Scouts.

The organization stands by their decision. Bob Drury, a scout executive for the Ohio River Valley explained the Boy Scouts’ stance rather succinctly to a local news outlet: “We do not grant membership to individuals who are opened or avowed homosexuals.”

Oh, I see. It’s not homophobia! It’s just their policy!

Tyrell has authored a petition in response, one that is especially important in the climate of homophobia gaining ground in this country. We keep telling young LGBT people that It Gets Better. But looking at Tyrell’s experiences, dismissed from a position she was using to do good for her community simply on the basis of her sexual orientation, one has to wonder: will it actually get better any time soon?

Not unless we demand it. And not until bigoted groups like the Boy Scouts are held accountable for their actions.

Sign Tyrell’s petition here.


Image source change.org

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