New York Boy Scouts hire gay leader despite ban

PinkNews logo on a pink background surrounded by illustrated line drawings of a rainbow, pride flag, unicorn and more.

A gay man has been hired as a summer camp leader for the Boy Scouts, despite the organisation’s ban on gay men.

Pascal Tessier was part of the campaign to repeal the Boy Scouts’ ban on gay youth, which was eventually overturned in 2013.

However they upheld their ban on gay men holding leadership positions. This meant Mr Tessier had to cease his involvement with the organisation when he turned 18.

Boy Scouts’ officials say they do not enquire into applicants’ and leaders’ sexualities, but do not allow leaders to be openly gay. Some local chapters have said they will not enforce this policy.

Mr Tessier applied for the position of summer camp leader, and was accepted despite being openly gay.

Zack Wahls, executive director of Scouts for Equality, told The Washington Post: “I’m sure it won’t be a surprise to know he’s excited that he got the job.

“The lion’s share of the credit here goes to the New York council for stepping up to the plate. There are a lot of chapters that say they don’t discriminate, but they just talk the talk. The Boy Scouts in New York walk the walk.

“It’s a watershed moment. This is the first time any Boy Scout council had said it’s employing an openly gay Scout. I think the leadership he exhibited in standing up against the ban on gay youth is the kind of character you want Scouts to learn at camp.”

Mr Tessier said: “I definitely wouldn’t be the person I am today without the Boy Scouts, which sounds cheesy, but it’s true.”

In a statement, the Boy Scouts of America communications director, Deron Smith said that the national policy to ban gay leaders remained in place and: “While we were only recently made aware of this issue, we are looking into the matter.”