The Boy Scouts of America: Another Closed Door For Black GBTQ Youth

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The Boy Scouts of America: Another Closed Door For Black GBTQ Youth

The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) and the Black Church are rightly lauded for molding young black men into adult leaders. BSA troops have produced distinguished African American scouts like retired four-star general Colin Powell, six-time NBA champion Michael Jordan, and Heisman Trophy winner Herschel Walker.

African American participation in the Boy Scout movement dates back to 1911, and its impact has not only forced the integration of young black males into the organization, but also continues to address many of the challenges these young males confront today.

With young African American males (particularly those in urban enclaves) at much higher risks for incarceration, gang violence, unemployment, fatherlessness, and substance abuse, the BSA has been a source of constant and consistent strong positive male figures for these young black boys.

Like many BSA troops, African American troops are often strongly affiliated with community black churches. These churches not only  hold  homophobic views, but also hold a tight-fisted hand on their non gender conforming males.

The BSA's position on GBTQ scouts is unquestionably discriminatory, and its hesitancy to swiftly remove its ban dishonors the organization's goal and philosophy, “to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law."

 This means that GBTQ black youths cannot catch the lifeline that the BSA provides their straight brethren due to the homophobia of the church and the BSA.  It’s no wonder these youths have higher incidents of homelessness.

The BSA's national office is housed in Texas, the heart of the Bible Belt, and that reflects the religiously conservative influence on the organization's policies.

Although the BSA is a civic organization that has local chapters in public schools, a large number of them are equally affiliated with religious institutions. Those religious groups have a disproportionate influence on the organization.

Most of these religious institutions interpret and impose both the Scout Oath and Scout Law from their conservative theological perspective and the Black Church is not alone in doing so. The Church of the Latter Day Saints, for example, has a huge influence on the BSA because the church mandates that all male youths join the Boy Scouts.

"With mutual exaltation of God and country and a