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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

Fit to be king
Lilli Dellheim, Special to the Hawk • July 13, 2024

Just a step

050431-N-1810F-181 Fort A.P. Hill, Va. (April 31, 2005) – The spirit of brotherhood through scouting closely resembles that found in the Navy, which add to the spirit of adventure during the National Boy Scouts Jamboree. More than 40,000 Boy Scouts from every state in America and dozens of other countries attended the Jamboree at Fort A.P. Hill. U.S. Navy photo by All Hands Photographer’s Mate 2nd Class Todd Frontom (RELEASED)

Needed acceptance for transgender children

The other day, I was reminiscing with a friend about our scouting years. She was a Girl Scout during elementary school and recalled how acceptance was taught and enforced in Girl Scout community – Girl Scout troops accept transgender females and girls who are homosexual.

I got my Eagle Scout badge in 2013, a year before gay scouts were allowed into the Boy Scouts of America (BSA).

I didn’t last the year.

I had entered Boy Scouts at the age of 10, having been in the Cub Scouts since I was five, and left at 16 disappointed and disgusted with the organization, mostly feeling like the years of weekly meetings were a waste. For a while, I was even hesitant to tell people I was an Eagle Scout for fear of being associated with the organization.

One of the biggest reasons for my resentful departure from scouts was the rampant sexism and homophobia I had witnessed. Once it became common knowledge that gay scouts would be allowed in, the jokes and comments were unending. The jeers from the boys were rampant, and the leaders of my troop were no better, if not worse at times with what they said about the LGBTQ+ community. To illustrate, it became a common joke where one would say “I love you man” quickly followed by “until 2014.” But the discrimination I witnessed did not end there.

At the time, I had recently begun to date an Indian girl at school. I decided to tell my friends in scouts about her. What resulted was shock and blatant mocking that I was dating a “bindi.” Later on, at a campfire, the leaders bluntly asked me why I was dating an Indian girl. They then proceeded to make racial jokes about Indians that were about as mature as the ones from my 14-year-old friends.

Unfortunately, I am not the only one to have experienced this. In 2012, a boy named Ryan Andresen was unable to receive Eagle Scout status, which he had earned, because of his sexual orientation. That same year, Eric Jones, a loyal Eagle Scout, was fired from his BSA camp counselor position for the same reason.

So what do I think about this change in their policy? I’m glad it happened, truly, but with the amount of time it has taken them, coupled with my own experiences, I am hesitant to really embrace this. Rules may force people to act certain ways but it won’t change their hearts. I fully expect to hear further stories about discrimination in scouting, but I will say that the new policy is a major step in the right direction. But you can’t teach old dogs new tricks and that is truly what worries me for these kids.

Rob Roy is a two palmed Eagle Scout, a brother in the Order of the Arrow, and a National Youth Leadership Training Graduate.

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