As you consider revising your policies to allow openly gay men and boys to be part of your organization, I wanted to share a few of my own thoughts.
I was a part of the Boy Scout organization for seven years. I have many fond memories of it. I did much good with my peers for the community, for each other, and for myself.
I learned a lot during those seven years, as well. I learned how to manage finances, rescue drowning people, support others in their goals, and so many other useful skills that I carry with me to this day.
I also learned how to hate myself. You see, I’ve been attracted to my own sex since I was eleven years old, which, coincidentally, was the year I started up in the Boy Scout program.
I remember how much emphasis was placed on what was considered normal family life and normal sexuality. Leaders talked about it from time to time. The other scouts laughed about it often. No one ever had any doubt that being anything other than straight was a quick ticket to being outcast. I wanted to disappear or cease to exist on more than one occasion.
I went to camp every summer with my friends. I went to meetings every week. I stood in the rain and the mud with those guys.
And here’s the thing.
I never wanted to have sex with any of them. I never wanted to experiment sexually with any of them. I never wanted to do anything sexual at all, ever, with any of them.
I just wanted to be accepted and feel like I wasn’t worthless. I was a preteen. Nothing else mattered.
Yet so much emphasis was placed on making sure I was never different than the norm that I never had the opportunity to feel accepted and valuable. Ever. And for that reason, I am writing this letter to ask you to reconsider your policy that forbids openly gay men or Scouts into your program.
Here’s some things I know.