I was asked today via email (Thanks for reaching out and wanting my opinion) to share my thoughts and opinion on the newest policy change in the BSA. That would be the Gender Identification policy and the fact that the Boy Scouts of America now open it’s membership to everyone regardless of sex or sexual orientation.
Ok.. I am going to do my best to express my opinion on this while supporting the Boy Scouts of America and give my thoughts on the issue in general.
First let me say that I do in fact stand with the BSA on this issue and policy change. That may or may not turn you off.. but it is what it is.
Second let me state that in my opinion this policy change or clarification of the membership requirement will not really have that big of an impact on Scouting. As much as the “Gay” issue did not really move the needle, the gender identification allowance will have about the same impact. That is my opinion and mine alone.
I am not opposed to the opening of the doors to everyone and think that this move, while not popular in conservative circles is a gateway to opening our membership up to being COED in all programs of Scouting. Again, I have no insight, just thoughts. I am not opposed to a COED program either.
Having said all of that, we will have to learn and be proactive in how we deliver the program. Logistics issues will be affected for sure, but the leaders of our organization are going to have to put together reasonable measures to maintain the program while integrating the COED aspect.
We do not have to rediscover the wheel here, we are one of less than a handful of Countries that are not COED, so we can learn from our brothers and sisters in Scouting across the globe.
The Boy Scouts of America has always kept up with or got in front of social issues. The organization can not and will not survive by living in the past.
The Moral dilemma. Scouting’s hallmark is found in the Oath and Law. It is where we establish our code of conduct and our shared values. Morality in its essence comes down to the difference between right and wrong. That is pretty clear. It has nothing to do with religion or faith. Right and Wrong.
I tend to live in the world or reality. Reality dictates that we accept things on realities terms. The reality of the Scout Oath and Law is simply that we live by the Golden Rule, again, not necessarily a religious concept as everyone can understand and live by the simple idea of treating others as we would like to be treated.
So now we have to decide if that applies to everyone or just the people that are like you.. or us.
I am a conservative guy.. but the more I think about the way we treat people, the more I understand the golden rule. I think that is an important part of “Help other people at all times” too.
Now lets talk about science. There are male and female members of our species. Black, white, or what ever, nature has maintained that in order for us to survive as a species we need men and women. X and Y chromosomes decide whether or not we are male or female. The discussion of what we “identify” as is a discussion I do not understand. Identification is a mental thing not a physical or scientific issue. We are what we are. If you are born a male, you are a male etc. How you feel about that is not a gender issue in my opinion. I feel like a millionaire until I check the bank statement and reality sets in.
I can identify as old man, and some days I feel that way, but then I look at my drivers licence and it says that I am only 51. Again, I do not wish ill or will not treat anyone bad because of their feelings, I just do not understand it.
The issue as it applies to Scouting is simple to me. Boys are boys and girls are girls and that is how they will be treated. We will have to learn how to accommodate the arrangements, but we treat it like we treat things now. With respect and keeping the individual safe. If we have a young man that “identifies” as a young girl, then we use the Patrol method and make sure the Scout has a great experience. Showers will have to be arranged as well as restroom accommodations. Most camps are single seaters anyway.. but we will have to be sensitive to the needs of the Scout. Just like we do now.
I do not think that Biology changes with feelings.. but that is my opinion.. and I guess the opinion of science.
But we are talking about the person. The person has feelings and as long as they agree to live within the values of the Scout Oath and Law.. I do not have a problem with it.
That goes for everything.
I care less about how you feel and more about how you act. That is a good moral position to be in I think.
Some may argue that this is a moral issue. I would argue that it is how we treat people and that is the difference between what is right and what is wrong.
I think that this policy change or clarification of the membership policy is in keeping with the tradition and spirit of Scouting.
We do not discriminate based on well… anything… as long as they agree to live the Scout Oath and Law.
To me it is that simple.
If you want to learn more about the membership policy.. check it out at the BSA site.
I thank you all for allowing me to express my opinion. I know that there are going to be some.. maybe many that disagree, and that is ok with me. We can still be friends.
I wonder what the discussion was like when the BSA opened it’s doors to African American boys? Think it may have gone like today’s policy changes.
Like we teach in Wood Badge.. Change is constant and Change is inevitable. Change is going to happen no matter how much you dislike it. As long as we move into the future with the goal of preparing young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Scout Law then we will survive.
Have a Great Scouting Day!