To the editor:
At the young age of 12, I proudly earned my Eagle Scout medal (I understand that I’m the first and only 12-year-old Eagle Scout in Washington state) and I also became an Order of the Arrow Brotherhood member.
Scouting taught me that even a skinny Asian kid from Moses Lake can earn its highest rank through hard work, dedication, public service and merit – indeed, that’s what the 21 badges required for Eagle Scout are called – and it inspired me to pursue a rewarding career in public, government and community service.
When the Boy Scouts of America first approved their discriminatory policy of banning gay Scouts, my first reaction was to return my Eagle Scout medal in protest. However, that would have broken the hearts of my parents who lovingly supported and sacrificed so much for my success.
Instead, I challenged the BSA to reverse their policy, and I was pleased to fill out their recent on-line survey on this issue. I’m both pleasantly surprised and disappointed by the decision to allow gay Scouts.
While a clear 60 percent of voting members did the right thing to overturn the ban on gay Scouts, I believe that it’s strategically short sighted not to allow gay Scout leaders.
I hope for the BSA to become more relevant and succeed, and that includes nurturing and building leadership and support from within.
It’s a strange organizational message that you’re welcome as a young gay Scout, but you’re not welcome when you become an adult.