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Youth Found Role Model In Gay Scout Leader

Indianapolis Star, April 30, 2002
P. O. Box 145, Indianapolis, IN, 46206-0145
(Fax: 317-656-1435 ) (E-Mail: )
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Letter: Youth found role model in gay Scout leader

 I was surprised by Andrea Neal's April 24 column in The Star.

 I was in the Boy Scouts for a few years, but found the institutional homophobia a bit too much for my tastes. I joined the Boy Scouts to prove my manhood to myself and to my parents. There I found a gay scoutmaster whose goal with his work was to show boys knot-tying and computer courses, not to have sex with them.

 He was an important role model for me. Knowing a gay man who knew the outdoors, wasn't afraid to fix a car, could decoupage a lampshade, be successful at his job and still date men was extremely important to me at the time. He was the man I wanted to be; there was nothing sexual about our relationship at all. Straight boys and girls are allowed to meet the men
and women they aspire to become. Why should I not be allowed to?

 Saying that gay men have no place as Boy Scout leaders gives credence to the notion that young gay teens have no right to a role model. In my town, there weren't many places I could go. My parents might've taken me to the gay teen group, but I never asked. I didn't have to fear their reaction to my wanting to go to the Boy Scouts. I don't know what I would have done without meeting that positive gay role model, but I doubt I would have been on the path to loving myself and who I am nearly as soon as I was.

 No one is stupid enough to claim that there aren't gay pedophiles. But calling for gay scoutmasters to leave the Boy Scouts is as laughable and damaging as mandating two separate church youth groups, two separate community centers, two separate Future Farmers of America, two separate debate teams, two separate after-school programs, two separate day-care
centers; one for boys led by straight men and lesbians and one for girls led by gay men and straight women.

 While there are criminal people, there are not any criminal communities. Have we learned nothing from the blanket discrimination and prejudice of our past?

- Kenneth DeGraff, Indianapolis

Addendum: From Scouting for All- It must be noted that a pedophile is a person who's sexual orientation is children. Pedophiles are not heterosexual, gay, or bisexual. They may hide their being a pedophile by living as having another sexual orientation. In fact most pedophiles hide as heterosexuals not homosexuals. A good youth protection program that is adhered to will help protect our children from pedophiles. The Boy Scouts of America has a very good youth protection program when followed by adult leaders.

Scott Cozza, Pres.
Scouting for All
BSA Scout Leader Banned by the BSA because of my belief that discrimination has no place in Scouting.

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