Morality: (noun) conformity to the rules of right conduct; virtue in sexual matters; the quality of being in accord with standards of right or good conduct; a system of ideas of right and wrong conduct.
Conduct: (noun) a mode or standard of personal behavior especially as based on moral principles; personal behavior; way of acting; bearing or deportment.
Misperception: (noun) to understand or perceive incorrectly; a false perception; a mistaken belief, idea or interpretation about something.
Since the Hop Against Homophobia and Transphobia is still going strong, at least for the next three days, I thought it would be fitting to take this opportunity to celebrate the landmark vote yesterday that has ended the ban on openly gay young men in the Boy Scouts of America. While this is indeed a victory and was a clear vote for progress, it is still somewhat tempered by the organization’s refusal to allow gay men to be troop leaders, but even small steps will still lead to big changes, and this is proof of it.
Before the vote had been taken, or the outcome announced, at least, I’d run across this Article, which has caused quite a lot of pondering on my part since I read it. First, I’m sure that there will be a lot of reactionary parents, and boys, too, who will desert the Boy Scouts because of the decision to lift the ban. That’s a reaction that has precedence, after all. I mean, look how many states wanted to secede from the union after the last election, my own included, much to my chagrin. I’m not saying it’s rational, but it is the way of human behavior when we don’t get what we want. We run off, pout, lick our wounds, and then we carry on to whine and overreact another day.
But what led to all the introspection after reading this article had nothing to do with the potential reaction to the outcome of the vote and everything to do with how this argument, this decision to end discrimination and allow all young men to achieve everything they are capable of within the realms of this organization, to realize every possible potential on their way to manhood, how…does being gay ever come down to a question of morality where these young men are concerned?
I have to say that when I read the headline, and then the quoted text about how our nation lacks moral standards, and that the BSA should remain an organization that parents can rely upon to uphold a sense of moral conduct, I had to stop and read that particular line again because, A.) I wondered when the Boy Scouts had become the moral authority in this country, and B.) I couldn’t believe that there was someone out there who actually believes that being gay is a question of morality. I must have missed the memo that outlined being gay as a behavior, as if it’s a choice rather than a matter of biology. Stealing another scout’s popcorn sale money = immoral. Cheating to earn a merit badge = immoral. Lying to make another scout look bad and to make oneself look the hero = immoral. Being gay? Nooooo. See, there’s a difference there.
Does being heterosexual consequently make a person more moral by default? Is heterosexuality an automatic pass to a spotless virtue? I’m sorry, but just typing those questions made me laugh a little bit, in a completely sarcastic and condescending kind of way. I’m simply unclear on all the ways a gay teen is any more or less capable of virtue than his straight peer. This misperception that, first of all, there have been NO gay boys involved in scouting over the past century is at best Pollyannaish and at worst, head-buried-in-the-sand naïve. But then to hold this truth to be self-evident: that all gay scouts will issue forth and become predatory cruisers of Troop 000, would be laughable if it weren’t so terribly, frustratingly disheartening to know that there are people out there who do believe that, very much.
I’m not sure how you all feel about it, but I don’t see this as a question of morals, unless, of course, you count prejudice and discrimination and judgment as immoral. Then, yes, it very much is a question of morality.