social sciences
special features
about glbtq

Advertising Opportunities
Press Kit
Research Guide
Terms of Service
Privacy Policy
site guide
search tips
research guide
editors & contributors
contact us
send feedback
write the editor
Subscribe to our free e-mail newsletter to receive a spotlight on glbtq culture every month.
e-mail address:
Popular Topics in Social Sciences
Stonewall Riots Stonewall Riots
The confrontations between police and demonstrators at the Stonewall Inn in New York City the weekend of June 27-29, 1969 mark the beginning of the modern glbtq movement for equal rights.
Gay Liberation Front
Formed soon after the Stonewall Riots of 1969, the short-lived but influential Gay Liberation Front brought a new militancy to the movement that became known as gay liberation.
The Sexual Revolution, 1960-1980 The Sexual Revolution, 1960-1980
The sexual revolution of post-World War II America changed sexual and gender roles profoundly.
Leather Culture
"Leather" is a blanket term for a large array of sexual preferences, identities, relationship structures, and social organizations loosely tied together by the thread of what is conventionally understood as sadomasochistic sex.
Anthony, Susan B. Anthony, Susan B.
Although best known for her crusade for women's suffrage, Susan B. Anthony spoke out on a range of feminist issues.
Africa: Sub-Saharan, Pre-Independence
With reports from hundreds of sub-Saharan African locales of male-male sexual relations and from about fifty of female-female sexual relations, it is clear that same-sex sexual relations existed in traditional African societies, though varying in forms and in the degree of public acceptance
Androgyny Androgyny
Androgyny, a psychological blending of gender traits, has long been embraced by strong women, soft men, members of queer communities, and others who do not easily fit into traditionally defined gender categories.
A cultural crossroads between Asia and Europe, Russia has a long, rich, and often violent heritage of varied influences and stark confrontations in regard to its patterns of same-sex love.
Topics In the News
California Boy Scout Chapter Reverses Decision on Eagle Scout Application
Posted by: Claude J. Summers on 01/08/13
Last updated on: 01/09/13
Bookmark and Share

Ryan Andresen on the Ellen Show.

A review board of California's Mount Diablo-Silverado Boy Scout Council reversed the October 2012 decision not to award Ryan Andresen Eagle Scout status because he is openly gay. The decision was a direct challenge to the Boy Scouts of America's discriminatory policy that bans the participation of openly gay scouts in the organization. Unfortunately, the decision was quickly overturned by bigots within the organization.

In October 2012, Andresen, who had completed all the requirements for the Eagle Scout award, was told that he would not receive the badge. His scoutmaster, Rainer Del Valle of Boy Scout Troop 212, which is sponsored by Moraga Valley Presbyterian Church, which apparently supports the national policy, refused to sign the paperwork verifying that he had earned the award. The scoutmaster's bigoted decision was upheld by Yno Gonzalez, Council President; Rodney Mangus, Council Commissioner; and John Fenoglio, Scout Executive and CEO, who also supported the national policy.

In protest, Andresen's father resigned as assistant scoutmaster of his son's troop after it was confirmed that he would not receive the badge.

His mother Karen Andresen told NBC, "I want everyone to know that [the Eagle award] should be based on accomplishment, not your sexual orientation."

Explaining that her son has been in scouting since he was six years old, she added, "I think right now the scoutmaster is sending Ryan the message that he's not a valued human being and I want Ryan to know that he is valued . . . and that people care about him."

Karen Andresen also initiated a Change.org petition, asking that the Boy Scouts of America's discriminatory policy be changed and that her son be given the award that he earned.

"It hurts me so much to watch Ryan suffer for being who he is, because to me, he's perfect. Ryan has worked for nearly 12 years to become an Eagle Scout, and nothing would make him more proud than earning that well-deserved distinction," she wrote on the petition website.

The petition soon gained almost 500,000 signatures and Ryan Andresen became a poster boy for the damage caused by the Boy Scouts' bigotry. His story went viral and he appeared on the Ellen Show, where Ellen DeGenerous presented him a hefty check for his college fund. He was even honored by the state legislature.

Not all people involved in scouting are bigots and even those who are may be subject to pressure, at least if they live in the Bay Area. In December, in response to the national uproar over the case, Mount Diablo-Silverado Scouting Council officials granted Andresen an official Eagle Board of Review hearing.

Bonnie Hazarabedian, the volunteer District Advancement Chair who headed the review board, verified to Erin Sherbert of SFGate that Andresen's application was approved, thus overriding the decision made by scoutmaster Del Valle to deny the award.

Hazarabedian told Sherbert, "Ryan did everything right in this process, with respect and honesty, requesting an Eagle Board of Review under disputed circumstances when his Scoutmaster refused to sign the application. Following BSA advancement policies in such situations, we felt an Eagle Board of Review was justified. As we do with all Eagle candidates, volunteer Scout leaders--parents ourselves of current or former Scouts--met with Ryan to review and discuss his scouting history and advancement records, his Eagle Leadership Project, and his spiritual beliefs and life goals. We are convinced that Ryan has demonstrated he deserves the rank of Eagle Scout."

Hazarabedian told Barbara Liston of Reuters, "I don't think sexual orientation should enter into why a Scout is a Scout, or whether they are Eagle material. We felt without a doubt he deserved that rank."

She added that the decision was intended as an "in-your-face" challenge to the national policy excluding openly gay participation in the Boy Scouts, which she described as "something out of the Dark Ages."

Normally, the national office rubber-stamps the district recommendations, but that was not true in this case.

Andresen's victory was short-lived, as Fenoglio, a paid employee of the BSA, reversed course and rejected the board's unanimously approved application--an unprecedented action. Local Scout volunteers speculated that Fenoglio's decision was heavily influenced by BSA national.

In a posting by Seth Adams at the GLAAD blog, Zach Wahls is quoted as saying of the reversal, "It's an unprecedented move. It's clear that Fenoglio's reversal was forced by BSA national. He's a paid employee, and unfortunately, National exerts a lot of influence over their staff. His reversal, however, is most disappointing."

But, Eric Andresen, Ryan's father, said, "It's gotten to the point that getting the Eagle doesn't matter so much. It's the message that counts. It's the desire that no other Scout should ever have to go through this."

On National Coming Out Day 2012, Ellen DeGeneres introduced the nation to the charming Ryan Andresen and his amazing mother, while also highlighting the injustice he experienced.

Related Encyclopedia Entries
browse:   arts   literature   social-sciences   discussion boards
learn more about glbtq       contact us       advertise on glbtq.com
Bookmark and Share

glbtq™ and its logo are trademarks of glbtq, Inc.
This site and its contents Copyright © 2002-2015, glbtq, Inc.

Your use of this site indicates that you accept its Terms of Service.