Video: Eagle Scout and LGBT activist speaks out against Boy Scouts anti-gay ban

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The founder of an organisation which advocates against the Boy Scouts of America’s (BSA) anti-gay policy, has released a video of himself telling his, and his mother’s story, and has emphasised the importance of the organisation lifting its ban entirely.

The video, posted by Scouts for Equality, features Zach Wahls, co-founder of the organisation, as well as an Eagle Scout, and LGBT rights activist.

The BSA last week proposed to lift the ban on gay youth members but said that it may continue to exclude gay adults as leaders.

Wahls discusses his story, saying that his mother Jackie, who is openly gay, was a Cub Scout leader when he joined the scouts, and that other parents, and scout leaders realised at that time that all she wanted was the best for her son, and his friends.

He says: “I joined the Cub Scout programme when I was six years old so I could experience the great outdoors, just like any other kid, I think.

“And after the first year, our Cub Scout den had gotten so big that we needed another parent leader to step up. But nobody else was willing, except for my mom Jackie, who became our Den Mother, and led our group of boys through all kids of adventures; going camping, hiking.”

He goes on to commend his mother for being able to lead the boys in their scouting activities.

“You’re looking over a group of pre-pubescent boys who have more energy than a nuclear reaction, just bouncing off the walls, going crazy”, he continues.

“It was really her guidance, as a leader, that I think facilitated the growth and development of us as boys, into young men. And it was interesting because Jackie, my mom, was an openly lesbian woman.

“So even though there was this policy that openly gay people couldn’t be a part of the programme, once a lot of the other parents and leaders saw that Jackie just wanted a positive scouting experience for me, and for my peers, they understood that they didn’t have anything to be afraid of. That made all the difference.

“It also illustrated to me the importance of lifting this ban so that mothers, like mine, could be a part of scouting experiences for their sons, all over the country.”

The video ends with the slogan: “Discrimination has no place in Scouting.”

On the BSA’s decision to delay the vote on whether or not to lift its ban on openly gay members, volunteers and staff, Wahls said: “The Boy Scouts are a fundamental part of this nation’s moral bedrock and they are one of our great cultural institutions. We have trusted them to grow and develop our young men for over a century.

“They’re a big deal, and that is why this proposed change is so critically important,” he continued.

The BSA is under pressure from religious organisations which have put pressure on it not to change its policy.

In July 2012, after a two year review, the Boy Scouts of America announced it would retain its ban on gay members, volunteers and staff.

Thousands of scouts have spoken out against the policy, and more than 1.2 million Americans signed petitions against it, according to Scouts for Equality.