I Was A Gay Boy Scout

gay boy scout

 

For 14 years of my life, I was a part of what I thought was a great society, the Boy Scouts of America. When I was 14-years-old I received my Eagle Scout award, I was a member of the National Scouting Honor Society, and I worked at a summer camp for 6 summers. From the start I knew that I was different than most of the guys I was in this program with. While many of them were talking about their girlfriends or the hottest movie star, I was thinking about guys, and in the Boy Scouts, that might as well be a death sentence.

What most people don’t know is that since the Boy Scouts of America is a private organization, they have the right to kick out any member who’s openly homosexual.  This rule applies to both scouts and scoutmasters, and countless scouts have had their rankings and achievements stripped away from them for coming out. With the added fear of having all of our hard work and achievements stripped away, can anyone blame so many scouts for staying in the closet? The closet seemed like the safest place I could possibly be as a 16-year-old at a Boy Scout summer camp with my hormones in full gear.

Do I stay in the closet and continue to be able to participate in an organization I love? Or do I stay true to myself and leave everything behind? These questions were constantly on my mind. If I go on a date will someone see me and tell my Scoutmaster?

I felt completely alone, but now I’ve come to realize that I was not the only gay Boy Scout out there. There are so many gay Boy Scouts out there, each feeling as if they’re the only one.

My time with the Boy Scouts of America ended when I was 18. After dating my first serious boyfriend, who was also a part of the organization and dealing with the same issues I was, we broke up after about six months together. During the six months of hiding dates and hanging in dark rooms, I realized that this is what my life would be if I continued to be a Boy Scout and the moment I had dreaded for almost four years leading up to it. After years of hiding, I decided that before anyone outed me, I would out myself and quit the organization I had come to love.

Feb 12, 2009 was my last official day as a Boy Scout. I was never stripped of the awards I had earned and I’ve read and met numerous individuals who had a much more devastating time than myself.

Sitting around campfires at scout camp, you hear horrible jokes made about “faggots,” “queers,” and “sissies.” Having to listen to those words destroyed me inside. It beat me down and dragged me through the mud from times. But I quit and I came out, but I will always be a gay Boy Scout and proud of who I am.

More from The Homo Life:

Coming Out as a Gay High School Athlete

I Wasn’t Hired Because I Was Gay

5 Books Every Twink Needs To Read

Hot British Athletes Get Naked To End Homophobia

image via examiner.com

About Cody Allyn Page

Cody Allyn is a masters student at NYU studying educational theatre and is currently working on a new play entitled "The Queer Project" to help promote and understand the LGBT community. You can find him on Twitter at @CodyAllynPage and @QueerdProject.

4 Responses to I Was A Gay Boy Scout

  1. Matt.S says:

    Good Article. I felt so alone when I was that age and in scouting. I while I am not defending the bigoted actions on the national level, I would be willing to say the gay experience in scouting differs from region to region. In the Pacific Northwest I am an openly gay college student and I have worked as a summer scout camp manager in my state for the past couple of years.

    I have met so many gay scouts and summer camp employees like myself and have never felt the need to keep it on the down low. I openly dated another employee at the camp (may or may not have been his supervisor at the time ;) ) but never had an issue on the local level. I did have a complaint filed against me by a “concerned” parent about the amount of gay employees at my camp and it was a non-issue in the eyes of our local scouting executive.

  2. Scott says:

    I was too.

    A gay boy scout (even though I didn’t really “know” I was gay at the time) and had some of the best experiences of my life.

    I owe a good 4 years of my life to scouting.

    Learning leadership skills, how to sail, go backpacking, rock climbing, sailing and way more.

    It was great to be able to have those experiences and the LGBT community deserves to have the incredible things that the BSA has to offer.

  3. Cody P says:

    I’m so glad that you had an open experience as far as being able to be openly gay and also date someone from camp! My camp and experience not so open but changing everyday.

    I would clarify the scouts were an amazing time period for most of the time. But as I stated in my article I had those moments of feeling completely alone and not knowing what to think. The skills I learned will stay with me forever, meanwhile I hope that the atmosphere continues to change around the BSA!

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