July 20, 2012

IconFormer den mother rallies against the Boy Scouts, shows she’s not alone

On Wednesday, July 18th, former Cub Scout leader Jennifer Tyrrell upheld the boy scout slogan, “Do a good turn daily”, but she multiplied that by 300,000.

After a disheartening vote on Tuesday the 17th, one in which the Boy Scouts of America ruled to uphold the gay ban first implemented in 2000, Tyrrell fought back with a petition asking the Boy Scouts to end the discrimination. With over 300,000 signatures, it is clear that Tyrrell is not alone in the fight.

A committee of eleven members has been debating this issue in the Texan Scout headquarters for two years. When a decision was finally reached and released on Tuesday, they were met with polarized reactions. Local church members rallied to show their support of the decision, while Jennifer Tyrrell, and other mothers whose sons have been affected by Tyrrell’s dismissal, represented with a large and ready voice.

She is a woman on a mission, and rightly so, having experienced discrimination by the Scouts firsthand in April of 2012. She was a den leader of her son’s tiger cub scout chapter in Bridgeport, Ohio, for over a year. She led her troop through various volunteer activities, working with local churches, shelters, and the Salvation Army. Shortly after she was elected treasurer of her pack, she received notice that her membership had been revoked, claiming she did not “meet the high standards of membership that the BSA seeks”, simply because she was gay.

This sudden and hurtful severance affected Jennifer Tyrrell, her partner, her son, and the families she had bonded with over her year of volunteer service. It of course affected the LGBT community as a whole, yet another reminder that discrimination is not always found in the obvious places.

Tyrrell’s determination is unfaltering, newsworthy, and heroic, and she has made it her goal to gather more support to eventually revoke this discriminatory policy in the BSA. Zach Walls, LGBT activist and author of My Two Moms, is asking that the policy be reviewed again, this time more openly. Walls is a Scout graduate, himself, and of course is not the only boy scout with gay parents.

Yes, it is 2012, and yes, the BSA promotes many positive moral values so it is shocking to think that they would continue to uphold this ban. If you are anything like me you are sitting there, fuming, shaking your head in consternation and wondering if you should boycott the Boy Scouts.

But how does one actually move forward with such an action? Surely you can’t slam the door in the face of a young cub scout or push a scout out of the way if he reaches his hand out to help an elderly woman cross the street. It’s not like they sell high-caloric, deliciously addictive and unhealthy boxes of cookies that you can refrain from purchasing in order to make a statement (and save your waistline). Luckily for us there is a quick and easy way to support Jennifer Tyrrell and get our voice heard, without having to stomp on any actual scouts.  Simply go to change.org  and sign your name.  Take a stand for human rights.

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Maria Burnham


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