Eric Jones was an Eagle Scout with the Boys Scouts of America [BSA] for nearly 10 years, but that all came to end this past weekend when, while working as a counselor at a BSA summer camp, Eric told the camp director that he was gay.
And it was over.
"I'd been working on coming out," Eric said. "I thought it was time to have my life of scouting and my other life come together."
But after saying the words, “I’m gay,” the camp director asked Eric to leave. Oh, but first the director blamed the BSA, saying Eric deserved “to be there, but he had to follow the policy of BSA."
Or, um, you could stand up and say ‘No.’
The BSA has a long, long anti-gay tradition of barring openly gay males from joining the organization—and of barring openly gay women, and mothers, like Jennifer Tyrrell, of being Den mothers. Folks say the organization is “reviewing” a resolution that would end the 102-year-old policy, but a BSA spokesman insisted that there weren't any current plans to change it.
Of course not, a hundred-plus years of hate is hard to end.
Eric Jones knew of the anti-gay policy before coming out, but he had hoped the camp director would overlook it because he’d been working at the camp for five years. Still, Eric Jones is somewhat pleased with the outcome: "This is definitely good for me. I'm generally happy."
But he still feels the discrimination for being gay, and being asked to leave an organization that he has loved for the last ten years, but says he has no regrets even though he's lost a major part of his life.
“I have to thank BSA for making the person I am, for being the person who stands up for what I believe in.”
Too bad the BSA doesn’t practice what they teach.
Sidenote: Eric's story was filmed and will be part of a documentary from director Ryan James Yezak, entitled "Second Class Citizens."