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Gay Boy Scouts and Trail Life: The Great Debate

Gay Boy Scouts and Trail Life: The Great Debate

Now that the Boy Scouts are allowing openly gay scouts, a new conservative Christian adventure and leadership organization — Trail Life — has sprung up as a refuge for those who oppose the rule change. I think this is great – the beauty of this country is that we actually have choices. In some places, you can be imprisoned for being gay.

Not surprisingly, however, this has evoked heated debate. Regardless of which side of the campfire you sit, it makes for some great reading on people’s confusing perspectives on homosexuality and scouting…

There’s the defense of what Trail Life really stands for:


“Glad that boys who do not want to be forced to accept homosexuality have an alternative to the Boy Scouts.” – one guy.

“Please point to where in the membership policy it says we are anti-gay. Mater of fact, show me where in the membership policy we are anti-anything. Trail Life USA is a pro-morality organization” – another guy

Got it – pro-morality, not anti-gay. I think this means you can join Trail Life if you are gay, so long as you engage in pro-moral behavior, like not being attracted to other males. I’m now clear on where I stand on the issue – pro-confused.

…equating gay men to thieves, criminals, and other unsavory folks in society:

“It’s just like if a boy came to me and said he’s a thief…we would send him to get pastoral counseling.” –  Texas-based Boy Scout troop leader Thom Fairleigh

It’s unfortunate that Thom thinks homosexuals are criminals. But his approach to thieves also needs some reexamination – I would think that a thief would need more job counseling than pastoral counseling.

…the “Real Men” debate:

Real men don’t feel threatened by someone else’s sexuality. – Dave
“Real men” are not concerned about what constitutes a “real man.” – Ivan
Real men don’t advocate dangerous, immature gay sexual practices. -Robert

Do real mean engage in inane conversations like this? – Me (if I were part of the conversation).

…whether Boys Scouts went far enough:

“And when they going to open to fat people?” – Balam

An astute question. Furthermore, is BSA anti-fat or pro-skinny?

…the Trail Life name: 

“Trail Life USA” is the best name they could come up with? How awkward! What do members say, “Hi, I’m a Trail Life?” Sounds more like a title to an adult movie. – M. Jackson

This is important. According to their website, they will be calling themselves “Trailmen”. I’m putting money down on an endorsement deal with Planter’s Trail Mix. “Real men – Trailmen –  eat Trail Mix!”.

….and my favorite – Boy Scout uniforms:

“I always thought the uniforms were kind of gay anyway.” – Corey Hardin

I bet this is probably a more hotly debated issue among 12 year old  scouts  than whether their fellow scout member is gay…

It will be fun to see where this debate takes us. Until then, I shall sit back, eat some trail mix, and watch…

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