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You Are Here: Home » Entertainment - Travel - Sports - Leisure, Featured » Eagle Scout Needs Your Help To Demand National Geographic Denounce The Boy Scouts of America

BSA Will Oliver

This spring The National Geographic Channel also known as NatGeo will be starting a new show called Are You Tougher than a Boy Scout and that doesn’t sit to well with 20 year old openly gay Eagle Scout who has started a petition on Change.org demanding that Nat Geo denouce the Boy Scouts of America’s homophobic policies.

Writes Will on his petition:

As an outdoorsman and an Eagle Scout, I’m urging National Geographic to speak out against the Boy Scouts of America’s anti-gay policy and issue a disclaimer before airing the new TV series “Are You Tougher Than A Boy Scout?”

By airing “Are You Tougher Than a Boy Scout?”, National Geographic has stepped into a uniquely influential role as a strategic business partner of the BSA. The show is being used to market the Boy Scouts of America to young people, but fails to inform viewers about the organization’s dangerous anti-gay policy. I urge the network to speak out now to protect gay youth and leaders like me.

My life as an outdoorsman began at the tender age of two years old. Not long after I learned to walk, I started hiking in the mountains of the Northeast alongside my parents. Since then, I have spent many months out of doors in the great wildernesses of this country, trekking, canyoneering, white-water rafting, and skiing. In fact, I wrote this petition from the summit of Mt. Washington in White Mountain National Forest, where I worked for a New England conservation group.
Like several of my early Den mates, I attained the rank of Eagle after a decade of participation in Scouting. I attribute many of my own values today from the lessons taught by the Scouting program: trustworthiness, kindness, bravery. I also happen to be gay.

But the BSA’s exclusionary membership policy fails to reflect those values. I was fortunate to be welcomed and valued by my troop regardless of the BSA’s official stance on sexual orientation. Unfortunately, there are countless stories of others who haven’t been so lucky. Just recently, an 18-year-old Boy Scout named Ryan Andresen was denied the rank of Eagle Scout — because he’s gay.

On its website, National Geographic Channel “invites viewers to live curious through its smart, innovative programming that questions what we know, how we view the world and what drives us forward.” I ask now that National Geographic live up to its words, and denounce this harmful and discriminatory policy.

To be entirely clear, the aim of this petition is not the cancellation of the series, but rather to make a strong statement to the BSA’s leadership about the grave injustice of their policy. I understand that the intent of “Are You Tougher Than A Boy Scout?” is to generate public appeal for the organization and to make it more “cool” and relevant to a young target audience. Something they desperately need, because national recruitment is down thanks to this controversial policy.

I personally believe that Scouting is cool. Discrimination, on the other hand, is not.

NatGeo released the following statement in the show’s and its own defense:

“National Geographic Channel is an international media company that is an equal opportunity employer.  We do not discriminate in any capacity.  As it relates to our upcoming show with the Boy Scouts, we certainly appreciate all points of view on the topic, but when people see our show they will realize it has nothing to do with this debate, and is in fact a competition series between individual scouts and civilians.”

If you follow the weak logic of National Geographic, then there should not be any objections to possible spinoffs called: “Are you smarter than a Nazi?” or “Are you smarter than the Taliban?”

A shocking and disgusting chapter for Nat. Geo but then again they are part of the Fox Cable Network.

PLEASE go sign Will’s petition and then take a minute to hammer the point home contact National Geographic @ feedback@natgeotv.com

 

 

About the author

Will Kohler has written 6658 articles on this blog.

Will Kohler is a noted LGBT historian, writer, blogger and owner of Back2Stonewall.com. A longtime gay activist, Will fought on the front lines of the AIDS epidemic with ACT-UP and continues fighting today for LGBT acceptance and full equality. Will’s work has been referenced in notable media venues as MSNBC and BBC News, The Washington Post, The Advocate, The Daily Beast, Hollywood Reporter, Raw Story, and The Huffington Post

2 Comments

  1. cruss says:

    While I strongly support your pro gay stance, I feel that comparing Boy Scouts to Nazis or the Taliban is absurd. As a scout I will tell you that 95 percent of us do not discriminate against gays. The one and only reason for this is because of the older representatives on the national level. The next president of the BSA has a pro gay view, and will be changing the policy if it is not already changed before he takes office. Please do not suggest that we are bad people or that we even share this view. It is rude, and wildly inaccurate.

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