Category Archives: activism

Love Knows No Bounds

Standard
Love Knows No Bounds

There are these moments in life when you feel love for another that extends deeper than the love you shared before.  I have been having these moments with my oldest son lately.  Each time an unnameable, unmeasurable kind of love.  One that causes my heart to swell with a fullness, my lips to turn upward in a content smile, and one that provides a knowing that I am right where I belong.  I belong as his mama.  And he belongs as my son.

People often have reasons why adoption might not work for them.  They tell me their reasons as though they are absolute truths when really they are unknowns, fears, stories.  I’ve heard,

Adoption is not an option because there’s no way I could love a child as deeply as I love my biological children.

Blood is thicker than water and that applies to the children you raise as well.  I’ll automatically gravitate toward the kids I birth(ed).  

I need a mini-me.  

I have a need to pass on my genetics.  

Adoption doesn’t feel natural.  

What if I can’t love a child that does not bear resemblance to me or my husband?  What if I can’t love someone I did not make?  That I did not grow?  

I hear that adopted children are just a mess of problems.  You never know what you’re really getting when you adopt.

Let me shout it from my pedestal, my soapbox, my rooftop…I LOVE MY ADOPTED BOYS AS MUCH AS I LOVE MY BIO BOYS!!!!!  In fact, in some ways it’s easier to love them.  Their character flaws are not a mirror of my own.  Their physical features and medical issues not something I criticize in myself or passed on genetically to them.  It’s in some ways easier to see them as the individuals they are.  Separate from me.

My heart has been full with love for my oldest lately.  I’ve had remembrances of his arrival into our decade long coupledom. For a few months, he was simply a dream.  An idea.  A possibility of love extended.  And then he became a stack of papers, phone calls, interviews, background checks until eventually he became a face and a name proudly displayed on the front of our fridge.  A few thousand miles later he became the little boy with the laugh that melted me in to a pile of mushy, gushy pure, unadulterated love.  A laugh that confirmed I was meant to be his mother from the moment of his conception.  That he had called me from the womb of his sacrificial birthmom and drew me across the world to find him.  Patiently sitting out the days in that Kazakh orphanage until I heard his call and answered.  Like the story of the red thread, our thread was connected and will forever remain connected.

That little boy continues to draw me in.  Each time I learn a little more about him, his struggles, his insecurities, his passions, his longings, his miseries and his triumphs, I find that I fall deeper in love.  My heart expands even more, filling my chest with such spaciousness.  It’s in these moments that I see him.  And upon seeing him, I know my love for him is pure, genuine, unwavering, and as deep as any mother’s love is for her blood born bio children.

  • I see him when after years of struggling he gets a dyslexia and SPD diagnosis and we celebrate together.  We don’t grieve. We celebrate because this diagnosis confirms what he’s believed (but questioned) all along.  He is not dumb.  He is just challenged.
  • I see him when we send positive energy to his birthmom on his birthday because “she probably thinks about me every year on this day, Mom.”  I bet she thinks about him far more often than his birthday but that’s when he really thinks about her.
  • I see him when he cares for his chicken.  He is a chicken whisperer.
  • I see him when he’s passionately being creative behind the lens of my camera.
  • I see him when he doesn’t care about winning races.  I see his heart when a boy crashes his bike and J stops 10 yards from the finish line to help the boy up and fixes the boy’s chain.
  • I see him when I am reminded by a book chapter Adam wrote about J helping us make a decision to adopt G.  He told us, “Every kid needs a home.  We should be that home for G.”  Those moments when he simply sees clearer than I do.
  • I see him when he gets in nature and can identify every bird of prey and tell you details about the shifting of their wings to make flight and hunting more efficient.
  • I see him when he measures his feet and hands against my own and swells with pride when he realizes that we are officially equal in foot and hand size.  And then he takes over my running shoes.
  • I see him when he hides in a pair of pants every day for fear of being teased about a wart on his leg.
  • I see him when he cries because he feels so different.  When he notices his skin color and brown eyes amidst a sea of blue eyed caucasians.
  • I see him when he leans against me just to find grounding in that chaotic SPD mind of his.
  • I see him when he chooses meditation and reflection as a way to find his center.  When he gives his daddy advice that is on par with the wisdom of any guru or enlightened being.
  • I see him when he holds a burial and funeral for a bird that “died alone” in a winter’s snow.
  • I see him when we cheer for Team Astana in the Tour de France because Astana feels a bit like home.
  • I see him when we are camping and he is the first to run up and help our neighbor with an issue she is having and then he shakes her hand and introduces himself.
  • I see him when he laughs hysterically at a comic book he is silently reading. It’s that same laugh I heard in a Kazakh orphanage that taught my heart a mother’s love.
  • I see him when we watch a National Geographic documentary together about using eagles to hunt and he grows taller as he connects with the Kazakh/Mongolian men in the film.  As a family we are instantly connected to his culture and we all see him a little clearer with that connection.
  • I see him after we have watched that documentary and all of us are laughing at the fact that birds of prey and archery
    (two of his passions) might actually be in his blood.
  • I see him when I tuck him in at night and still see remnants of those super chubby baby cheeks that begged to be squeezed and kissed.
  • I see him when I apply for a job as an adoption outreach coordinator and I realize that adoption is my passion.  He has put the inspiration in me.  He’s responsible for that passion.
  • I see him when I find myself advocating for every single child to have a home.  When I encourage people to explore adoption as a very viable option for expanding their families (and hearts).
  • I see him every time I choose to see.  He’s always there, as loving and open as that very first moment.

He did not inherit my genetic code.  He in no way looks like me.  He did arrive with his own set of “problems”.  And, you know what, those truths are exactly what make our relationship beautiful.  What makes him beautiful.    Blood type, skin color, nationality, genetic predisposition, DNA, origin, womb, egg, sperm, none of these are measures for the basic human right of giving and receiving love.  When I see J, I only see love.  My love.  His love.  A love that knows no bounds.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Advertisements

Decisions: Shut up or Speak up?

Standard

I love to write.  Writing is a healing process for me.  It’s helped me work through many of my journeys in life.  I’ve written while I adopted my first son.  I’ve written while my twins were near death in a NICU.  I’ve written when I was volunteering at an orphanage in Haiti.  I’ve written when I was angry after leaving religion.  I’ve written when I’ve seen injustices in my small world.

Writing frees me.
Writing helps me process.
Writing helps me find myself.
Writing lets me and others know that we are not alone.

Over the past year I have been suffering.  Deeply.  My husband has been suffering.  Deeply.  My boys have been affected but I’m hoping that we have carried most of their suffering for them.   Protecting them from the pain that has changed their lives.  Our lives.

I have stopped myself from writing about this suffering and pain.  I’ve edited and guarded my words.  I’ve stopped short of addressing the “incident” that put us in this place because I am filled with fear.  Fear of rejection.  Fear of judgement.  Fear of the  persecutors who sit behind their computer screens attacking and attacking until they have destroyed good people.  Fear of giving them access back in to my life.

But slowly I am beginning to feel an undeniable need to write.  A boiling within me that’s about to bubble over if I don’t get out the words and feelings that are a fire within me.

I am becoming inspired.  Inspired by those who have gone before me.  Those who have made their voices heard even if it’s in opposition to the majority.  I’ve read stories of women standing up against their religions.  I’ve cried over lyrics from young men fighting for equal rights.  I’ve stood in awe of men and women taking stands that cost them their jobs, their freedoms, their reputations.  But they’ve done it because it’s right.  They’ve done it because it’s the only way to free themselves.  To live within their integrity.

Slowly I am coming to the decision to share because I think the topic is important.  Because I think the words need release in order for healing to begin.  Slowly I am deciding that the harassment my family will likely receive will be worth the risk of saying the hard things.

But I’m afraid.  Afraid in a way that makes my insides cringe, my eyes well up, and my heart to start racing.  Afraid in a way that makes me question every small thought and inclination.  Afraid in a way that steals a part of me.  Every.  Single.  Day.

I want to live again.  I want the freedom to be genuine, real, and to not hide mistakes.  I want the freedom to tell the story.  I want the freedom to express my opinions about the situation without having to scroll through thousands of hateful words.  I want the freedom to move on.  I want freedom for me.  For Adam.  For our boys.

I’m not sure that freedom will ever come from being quiet.

But I know that releasing the words will cost us more pain.

Maybe on the other side of that pain is hope.

Maybe.

I will only know if I take the leap…

But I’m still too scared.

My Journey (This One’s For the Bro)

Standard
The Destruction Of Sodom And Gomorrah, a paint...

The Destruction Of Sodom And Gomorrah, a painting by John Martin (painter), died 1854, thus 100 years. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Once upon a time I was not so liberal.  Once upon a time I 100% believed that gays and lesbians were facing a sentence of eternity in hell.  Once upon a time I feared the gay movement.  I feared the agenda and questioned the authenticity of every person who “claimed” to be gay.  Afterall, God would not create gay people only to punish them and condemn them.  He didn’t create any gay animals (a very false idea I adhered to).  In my limited amount of understanding being gay was a choice.  Gays were not born that way.  Therefore it was sin.  Fire and salt pillars kind of sin.

I didn’t have much exposure to people who were openly gay being as I attended a Christian school where being gay would likely have not only gotten you bullied but most likely expelled.  I have one small recollection of a girl in my class wanting to bring her gay friend(s) to our Jr/Sr Banquet (we didn’t have dances, we had dinners… *sigh*) and those friends were not permitted because of their sexual orientation.  And I was glad.  At least this is what I fuzzily remember about that incident.

Ellen DeGeneres

Right after I graduated (or just before) Ellen got a sitcom on ABC.  A few years in to the show Ellen came out both in character and publicly for herself.  Because of the gay content of the show ABC gave this mild sitcom a parental advisory prior to airing.  I can remember being so disgusted with ABC and with Ellen.  The world was certainly ending if this was the propaganda and trash that our networks were going to sell us.  With so much conviction, I hated Ellen, her ideas, and ABC for supporting this.  By the time Will and Grace came along the feelings continued but they had lessened.

My next exposures were much more real.  College.  In college I studied side by side with many lesbians and I worked with a few gay men.  This was a time when I began to question if my biblical beliefs about their sexuality could possibly be wrong.  I knew men that had been in committed relationships longer than most couples I knew.  Longer than my parents had made it and yet here they were denied the right to be married and damned to hell.  I’d question just enough to empathize for the moment and to be kind, but the Bible told me otherwise and the Bible trumped what I wanted to believe.  Therefore I voted against their rights, avoided what I considered sinful parties at their homes, and continued to pretend that I was cool with who they were.  You know, love the sinner hate the sin.  Yeah, that philosophy.

This continued to be my mindset well in to my twenties.  Every now and then a glimpse of how I might be wrong would surface. Like the time when we adopted our oldest from an orphanage in Kazakhstan and I saw first hand how many children are without families.  I began to question whether a child would prefer to just be loved no matter if it’s with two dads or two moms or a heterosexual couple.  Wouldn’t any family be better than no family?  But, as always, my empathy and questioning were short lived.  God had intended for families to be one man, one woman, and their children.  Who was I to question that?

The Corner of Gay and Church

The Corner of Gay and Church (Photo credit: Wyoming_Jackrabbit)

I continued down the path of righteous judgement rather than progressing my views.  I felt so high and mighty that I eventually lost any empathy.  I had decided no more questioning.  Questioning and empathizing were too risky.  I soon learned of someone from my past who was a christian man married with kids but had been having affairs with men because he was gay.  I was so proud to be part of a church that was working with him to cure his sexual addiction and help him save his marriage.  The fact that my church would help him rather than deny him admittance was my idea of progressive.  No more questioning.

Until I began to doubt other standards of my beliefs.  And until I allowed all questioning and all seeking.  Until I decided to truly open my mind.  Until then that is how I perceived others through my heterosexual, closed mind.  After questioning, I recognized that I was right to question in the very beginning.  That I should’ve allowed myself the freedom to continue down that path of evaluating my want to believe a certain truth vs the commandment that I must believe it to be true.

Now that I had deemed the Bible as untrue and I was free from the confines of god mandates I sought out to change my perspective.  As much as I’d like to tell you that as soon as I left religion the shackles of all I’d been taught to believe and actively practiced just fell off, I can’t.  It was like being handcuffed and having to search through thousands of keys to find the one that would finally release you.  It was work.  I knew at this point that I wanted to love and accept and actively fight for gay rights.  Because I knew it to be the right thing.  Because I knew that they were not evil.  Because I had started to educate myself and I learned about the 1500 or so species that did have some types of homosexual behavior and relationships.  Because I began to question why sodomy between same sex couples is any different than sodomy between heterosexuals.  And because I could pull up all the times I wanted to believe differently than what the Bible taught me and hold on to how I felt about the loving gay people in my life during those times.  They were wonderful people.  Kind people.  Not sinful, sick people with big agendas to destroy the world.  Not people in need of saving or change.  I was the one who needed changing.  And Ellen is, and probably always was, fucking awesome!  Just sayin’.

I continued down this path of retraining my mind by reading, educating, watching shows that made me uncomfortable, by voting

Family

Family (Photo credit: Drab Makyo)

the way I believed to be right,  by recognizing that gay parents are a great option for orphaned kids, by rubbing shoulders with more gays and lesbians without judging their lifestyle.  I retrained my mind by thinking about my own boys and the fact that one or more of them very well could be gay and do I want them to ever, for even an iota of a second, to think that I don’t fully support them?  No!  I want them to grow up in a house where we fought for equal rights and where they knew long before they knew they were gay that mom and dad  were on the front lines fighting for their right to love and be loved.  That’s what it boils down to.  Love.  A basic right for all human beings.  Gay or straight.

Again this didn’t come as easily as I would’ve liked or expected.  For example, soon after my decision to lose religion, we enrolled our boys in an alternative school and we learned that they would be teaching sex ed when our boys became fifth graders.  In that class they teach about transgenders and alternative lifestyles and how it’s okay to be anything and it’s our responsibility to treat all people, no matter their sexual orientation, with great respect.  For some reason, just the idea of my boys being taught that an alternative lifestyle was a valid option brought up a little past anxiety in me.  Even though I too believed that and wanted to teach them those standards for living.  Sadly, the residue of all my years of fighting against homosexuals still surfaced from time to time.  But this time I knew those feelings and thoughts to be false and so pushed through the negative reaction they gave me.  I was slowly becoming free from my prejudices.

Freedom did eventually arrive.  The key to my shackles had been found and I was released.  Since that day (there was no one specific moment) I was free to fully accept the gay community without any baggage.  I was free to start fighting for their rights.

DSC03648And this is where the story gets beautiful.

Two years ago my little brother told me he had something he wanted to tell me (and my sisters).  He (K) said, “Amy, I’m so scared to tell you and I’m afraid I’ll chicken out so I’m telling you that it’s important and I need you to hold me accountable.  I need you to make sure I tell you.”  At the time, my siblings and I all lived in Tucson and were running every Monday night together and then having dinner afterwards so we decided that the next Monday he would spill his guts.  Of course, during the next week or so my sisters and I were taking guesses at what we thought he would need to tell us.  What news had him so nervous?  I think I had landed somewhere on the guess that he was dropping out of college and he was afraid of disappointing us.

We went for our run and then out for dinner and when the conversation time came it went a little something like this,

K:  So I have something to tell you guys.  Why don’t you guess.

Us:  You’re dropping out of school?  You got a girl pregnant?  You’re moving?  You got married?  You’re gay?

K:  Yep.  I’m gay.

Us:  Amidst hugs, laughter, and tears…. Yay, that means more adopted kids in the family!  K, I’m so happy for you!  K, that’s wonderful news!  You had us scared shitless.  Do you feel better now that it’s out?

K:  Yes, but I’m still scared to tell the parents.  Will you guys help me with that?      

Us:  Of course.  You tell us what you need and we’ll be there for you every step of the way. IMG_0129 

After that it was just a barrage of questions rapid fire style!

Since that day, I can honestly say that I love my brother deeper than I ever have.  Being gay changes nothing about him.  Absolutely nothing.  But being free of his secret does.  His coming out gave him the freedom to be true to himself and with that freedom he has more of himself to give.  He isn’t hiding in fear and shame anymore.  He is liberated.  He’s more genuine.  I always find it sad to hear his story about trying to convince himself that he wasn’t gay.  And I hear this a lot.  People fight against being gay because they want to be anything other than that.  We aren’t at a place yet where we can discover we are gay and feel just as comfortable as discovering we are hetero.  That has to change.

I have a lot of regret when it comes to my brother.  I have regret that my sisters and I ever teased him about being gay.  When he would cry, when he would never bring around a girlfriend or talk about girls,etc,  we teased him.  I regret that I ever fought against his right to be with who he loves.  I regret that I wasn’t a safe place for him to share his life with.  I’m sad that so many people still don’t have a safe place to be free from their secrets.  40% of homeless youth are LGBT.  40%!!!  I regret that I am part of the reason he needed to stay closeted for so long.  I regret that I judged his lifestyle before I knew it was his lifestyle.  I regret that I didn’t take a more active part in his life when he was silently struggling with this.  Alone.

IMG_0455But on the flipside I’m also proud.  I’m proud that I came to a place where I was safe for him to share his secret.  I’m proud that I was on that journey before I knew my own brother would be part of this community that I was learning to love and accept.  I’m proud that I can now stand right by his side and fight for his rights.  His right to be married.  His right to adopt a child.  His right to be by the one he loves.  To share health benefits with that person, to get tax breaks, to have estate privileges.  These are all rights I will fight for.  I’m proud that my boys have a great example of a man and that man happens to be gay.  That they will see that they too can be gay and I will shout it with joy from the rooftops.  I’m proud that I allowed myself to question all those years ago.  If I hadn’t, I’m not sure how my relationship with K would function.  I’m not sure I could’ve supported him and if I did, there’s no doubt that I’d be secretly praying for his conversion.  I’m proud that I can honestly say that I love my brother just as he is.  Perfectly beautiful.

Mostly, I am proud of him.  It takes a lot of guts to come out and own your truth.  Especially in religious circles.  It takes a strongIMG_1361 person to come out knowing there’s a good chance that some people will judge and some people will be harsh.  When I first told one of my long time friends, I had a very small glimpse of what my brother must sometimes fear.  I was excited to share my news but I knew she wouldn’t likely feel as excited as me.  What I didn’t expect was her response, “that’s disgusting and wrong.”  That person is no longer privy to the exciting and celebratory moments in my life.  Truly I’m sad that she can’t see the beauty in him and the beauty in his coming out.  I do.  He does.  I’m all kinds of big sister proud.

The journey continues.  He probably still has people to come out to but as the days pass on I believe it gets easier and easier.  He becomes more comfortable in his truth and who he is.  And he knows that he is forever loved by those who matter most.

Now let’s get this equal rights movement right where it needs to be…all things fair and equal in the hetero and homo worlds!  Let’s make a future for our kids so they don’t have to hide in any closets or feel ashamed of their sexual orientation.  Let’s educate the people so our kids don’t hear ignorant judgements about how they are ‘disgusting’ and ‘wrong’.

As always, readers, journey on.  Fight the good fight.

I love you, K!

I love you, K!

 

Celebrating Progress

Standard
Photo Credit (Daniel Cavazos for Austinist)

Photo Credit (Daniel Cavazos for Austinist)

What a monumental day! I’m so excited to be on this side of history. In the last 24 hours I have witnessed the powerful, courageous and heroic stance of Wendy Davis in the Texas Senate, the overturning of DOMA, and the dismissal of Prop 8. I sat here with chills on my arms, butterflies in my stomach, and tears of pride streaming down my face as the tennis shoed Davis delivered a 13 hour filibuster.  Adding to the power of this filibuster were the hundreds (maybe thousands?) of supporters filling the senate chambers and the streets outside chanting “My body! My Choice!”. Davis stood her ground in the face of irritated male republicans telling them “get out of the vagina business or go to medical school.” Absolutely inspiring and mighty and deserving of a standing ovation.  Well played, Davis, well played!

And then today the news out of the Supreme Court! Our gay and lesbian citizens are one step closer to receiving fair and equal treatment. Very soon we will not be hearing story after story of partners that were denied rights to be by their life partner as their partner suffered and died in a hospital. We’ll not hear stories about partners being denied parental rights of their children, of being denied benefits that are awarded to same sex couples, of being left out of funeral planning, of being recognized in one state as a legitimate couple but not another, of being denied the ability to make life changing legal decisions on their partner’s behalf, of being denied citizenship and being deported because they are not legally married.1045117_10151721564225734_1431855029_n

Those will be stories that our children and grandchildren will read about in history books and ask us about the days when people were not allowed to marry the one they love. The days when people who identified as LGBT were treated as second class citizens. Our kids will look at us and just be dumbfounded that there was ever a time in our country’s history when women could not vote, blacks were slaves and segregated, and that same sex couples were not allowed to marry. Those backward ideas will be beyond their comprehension. And better yet my boys (your boys and girls) will be able to love and marry whomever they choose. That’s Beautiful and Worth Celebrating!

To end this monumental day a volunteer knocked on our door wearing an Oregon Love shirt.  This is what played out:

Volunteer: I’m here on behalf of marriage equality and we are raising funds today so that same sex marriages will be legal in the state of Oregon. Is marriage equality something you support?

Me: Yes, I do! And today is a great day in this country!

We both high five and all the boys join me at the front door to hear what we are celebrating.

Volunteer: We have a company that is matching 100% of donations that we collect today so if you can even give just two dollars to the cause it will double to four dollars.

Now my money minded child wanted to know about how his money could double and what would his money go to.

Me: This nice man is volunteering his time to help get a law passed that would allow you to marry whomever you love. Boy or girl. Any money we give would help people like Uncle K be able to get married and to be treated fairly.

"Homosexuality & the Bible" booklet

“Homosexuality & the Bible” booklet (Photo credit: Fellowship of Reconciliation)

Every single boy chimed in and asked how much money they had saved up and started donating. Between the four of them they donated $15 of their own money to help their Uncle K and to help all people who want to marry. I don’t have to tell you how moved and how proud I was in that moment. But I do have to share the response of the volunteer.

Volunteer: Oh my goodness, this is the most moving and beautiful thing I’ve experienced today. Just an hour ago someone threw a Bible at me. I’ve been lectured, called names, and while most people have been positive this takes the cake. I have a story to share now that just makes my heart smile. Your Uncle K should feel so lucky to be so obviously loved and supported. Thank you for your generous gift, boys. Thank you for making a difference and thank you for making my job worth every Bible and insult thrown at me.

The boys felt really good about giving to this cause. They really want equality and the right to love without government interference (well in as much as their 10 and under minds understand of government involvement).  Today they took a small step in having their voices heard and in making their own futures brighter.  And while I know there is still a lot of work to be done in this movement, we can at least celebrate that progress is being made.

So needless to say I feel inspired today. I feel hopeful. I feel like the people are speaking out and being heard.   I feel like my small part of the world is right side up.

Tomorrow I’ll finally write about Uncle K and what that means to me and then it’s a back to a bit of family humor. A break from heavy topics 😉

BSA Decision is BS

Standard

I feel really angry at the Boy Scouts of  America.  I’ve been aggravated with them in the past but today they had an opportunity to become a leader in change.  They were given the opportunity to teach the millions of scouts in their groups that not only are we to love and accept our gay brothers but their gay parents too.  Instead with a 60% vote they voted only to allow gay scouts membership but will continue their ban on gay scoutmasters.  A message that is a far cry from the one we need to be sending.

Credit: The Christian Post

Credit: The Christian Post

I have four boys.  Some of whom would love to be a scout.  We decided against scouts when we learned that not only have they been excluding homosexuals but they also exclude the non-religious.  Agnostics, secular humanists, and atheists are not permitted membership.  I can’t imagine one of my sons growing up with a group of peers that are taught to exclude what he may choose to believe or what sexual orientation he may discover he is.  That type of environment teaches boys who are different to feel shame and to hide.  Truth or disclosure would mean non-acceptance and judgement.  That is not an environment which I want to subject any of my boys to.  Straight or gay.  Religious or non.  And I had to explain that to my boys over the summer when all of their neighborhood friends (in the midwest) belonged to scout groups. I had to explain why I would not spend any of my money buying popcorn from their buddies to support an organization who would decline our admission.  Oh, but knocking door to door and showing off badges sure makes scouting look like so much innocent fun.

Which it is. Fun.  Not innocent.

Credit: AP (The Blaze)

Credit: AP (The Blaze)

What boy doesn’t want to camp, tie knots, adventure seek, earn badges and enjoy the camaraderie of other boys? What parent doesn’t want their child involved in activities that help them become whole people?  Kind, considerate, motivated, and able-bodied?  But BSA is not the place for such things.  When thousands (tens of thousands?) of people are threatening to end their ties with BSA because they are allowing openly gay boys to become members, it is clear that many of the people involved are wanting something exclusive.  Much like religion.  And based on the decision to continue the exclusion of gay men and women as leaders, it is clear that BSA also wants something that is not for every boy.  They haven’t even touched the topic of  including non-religious families.  If young gay boys are allowed to join why should they not be afforded the gift of having strong, loving, like-minded male mentors with whom they can relate?  Where does the fear (I’m not going to use the word hate.  I’m making the assumption that the actions of hate stem from fear) come from?  What are people afraid that these gay boys and/or gay leaders are going to teach their children?  Are they afraid that gay men are going to be sexually inappropriate with their boys?  What about gay women?  Well, how many “straight, celibate” priests have piddled with your boys inside church walls?  Did you ban priests from leading altar boys?  Did you fight the catholic church?  Why are churches dissociating themselves from BSA because of this decision?  What are they afraid of?  Seeming too progressive?

Credit: NYUlocal

Credit: NYUlocal

What message are we still sending if we choose to applaud BSA on this decision?  I think the message BSA is sending is a message of conformity but not conviction.  A message that says we are doing the bare minimum because we are pressured to do so but we are still keeping our doors closed for things as nonsensical as gay leaders.  Who is going to put their gay (or straight but may soon discover he is gay) child in an organization like this that shuns them once they are adults?  An organization that won’t allow him to grow up and be a scoutmaster for his own children?  An organization that won’t allow the gay parents of a straight child be active volunteers?  BSA is not an example of change.  It’s not an example of progress.  It’s not an example of conviction and doing what’s right.  It’s just BS.

So as I read the praises for BSA and the progress they are making I can’t celebrate.  It’s not enough.  It’s NOT enough!  The message is still pretty clear.  And until there is a complete overhaul of more inclusion than exclusion,  more acceptance than prejudice, we will choose to grow our moral values without the help of BSA.

If you are like our family and are looking for places where acceptance and inclusion are part of the mission statement please know that BSA has alternatives: Camp Fire or Navigators USA.  If you know of any other organizations please share in the comments.

*My feelings about BSA does not mean that I dislike or am angry with every boy or family involved with the organization.  I know plenty of great people who have graduated from scouts or who are currently members.  I just think we need to ask the questions and if we are comfortable with the answers, then so be it.  I am simply not comfortable with the answers and therefore cannot support the organization.