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2 December 2003

So it's a new month and, with all the problems I was having with the front page, I decided to just redo things, and redesign it a bit while I'm at it.  I wish I were a better graphics designer, but I work with what I have.  The problem with the front page was continuing as of yesterday (apparently only with some browsers), but maybe with putting up a new front page that will solve the problem.  Here's hoping.

It is now officially December, we are now officially in the Christmas season, and if it's Christmas, it's time for my annual diatribe against the Boy Scouts.

Problem is that a lot of wind has gone out of my sails.  Too many years, too many battles, but when the Davis Enterprise posted a letter to the editor praising the Scouts and encouraging people to buy their Christmas trees at the Boy Scout lot, well...I had to respond and so I wrote my annual Christmas Letter to Davis.   This year it was a little more subdued:


While I feel no personal animosity toward the youngsters who are enjoying their years in the Davis Boy Scouts, in this season of peace on earth and good will toward all, it is good to remember that The Boy Scouts of America is the only organization in the worldwide Scouting institution which specifically discriminates against homosexual boys.

I feel very strongly about this, having a good friend whose son committed suicide as a result of the discrimination he felt, the sort which is encouraged by the separatism which the Boy Scouts of America promote.

In making your selection of a Christmas tree this year, I would hope that your dollars would go toward an organization which is all-inclusive, and not one which so blatantly discriminates.

Bev Sykes

It won't change anybody's feelings on the subject.  It's always the same people making the same arguments, but perhaps people will think twice about contributing to the Scouts.  Walt was amused to note that when the newspaper ran a front page story about the Boy Scout Christmas tree lot, they interviewed the local leader, who went out of his way to promise that all funds raised on the lot would stay with the boys in Davis and would not go to the national headquarters at all.  It shows he is at least aware of the problem.

It's such a difficult situation.  I certainly don't dispute the fact that scouting is a good activity for young boys.  I was a scout leader myself in the days before I understood the situation.  The problem is that it's not an activity which is available to all boys.  What I didn't say in my letter, since I will soon be working for Suicide Prevention and it's probably not prudent to be mentioning it, but in the past couple of months there have been two suicide attempts by young gay boys in junior high school.  (I'm not clear on the facts; my information came through my friends in the gay community.)  

Adolescence is a terrible time for kids emotionally under the best of circumstancese.  Junior High School is the work of the devil, I think.  You put all those kids who are just coming into puberty together at the same time and it brings out the worst in most of them.  Most of our kids had a terrible time in junior high.   Add to that the fact that you are already feeling different because you are experiencing things that the world may tell you is wrong or bad or whatever adjective you want to put on it, but knowing that you can't stop those feelings...and then have a fun group like the Scouts tell you that you can't belong because you are "different" and it could push some vulnerable kids over the top.

Scouts go camping, they learn to tie knots, they whittle things, they do fun activities.  They don't engage in sexual activity and to ban a kid from participation just because he's gay is just wrong.  Likewise to prohibit a caring gay man from being a leader is also wrong.  It assumes that by being in close proximity with boys he is going to turn pedophile.  It convicts him without a trial.  It's unfair and it is depriving Scouts of a host of very caring men who would love to help young kids have a good experience.  The teacher arrested yesterday for molesting young girls in his classroom would be permitted to be a Scout leader because he's straight. 

But people somehow can't get past the image of homosexuals as sex-crazed beings who only have one thing on their mind and so there is never going to be a message that is going to convince those with closed minds otherwise.  Still, I write my yearly letter and remind people that to purchase a tree from the Boy Scouts is to quietly look the other way while their national leaders wave flags of discrimination and exclusion.

In an example of perfect timing, while I was writing this, I was sent this newspaper report, underlining the ridiculous lengths to which people's ignorance and hatred will drive them:

A 7-year-old boy was scolded and forced to write "I will never use the word `gay' in school again" after he told a classmate about his lesbian mother, the American Civil Liberties Union alleged Monday.

Second-grader Marcus McLaurin was waiting for recess Nov. 11 at Ernest Gallet Elementary School when a classmate asked about Marcus' mother and father, the ACLU said in a complaint.

Marcus responded he had two mothers because his mother is gay. When the other child asked for explanation, Marcus told him: "Gay is when a girl likes another girl," according to the complaint.

A teacher who heard the remark scolded Marcus, telling him "gay" was a "bad word" and sending him to the principal's office. The following week, Marcus had to come to school early and repeatedly write: "I will never use the word `gay' in school again."

A phone message left for Lafayette Parish schools superintendent James Easton was not immediately returned.

The ACLU is demanding the case be removed from Marcus' file and that the school apologize to the boy and his mother, Sharon Huff.

"I was concerned when the assistant principal called and told me my son had said a word so bad that he didn't want to repeat it over the phone," Huff said. "But that was nothing compared to the shock I felt when my little boy came home and told me that his teacher had told him his family is a dirty word."

Great example of "family values," eh?   Sigh.

In other news, today I went to my new office for my first day of work.   I mention this here because it is the last time I will talk about my new job here.   Given the sensitive nature of working for an organization such as Suicide Prevention, given the need for strict confidentiality, and given all sorts of things, I will not be mentioning my job here in this journal after today.   I felt it necessary, given that I have been open, from time to time, about all aspects of my job and knew that it might seem strange that never talk about my job.  But that will become the uspoken part of my life.  Suffice to say that I am very excited about starting this new enterprise, about working in an environment where I will actually have co-workers again, unlike my rather lonely job in Dr. G's office, and I think it will have been a very serendipitous accident that I fell into this new position.



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This Penny-Farthing bike is the symbol of Davis
and this statue stands at one of the entrances to town.


For more photos, please visit My Fotolog and My FoodLog

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Weight Lost to date:  55.6 lbs

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Created 12/02/03