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Aside from a few exceptions, all the blog posts that I wrote have now been released.  I wrote more than I thought I did, over 350 articles.  Now granted, I did try to focus on one subject for each one, unlike my other blogs, which tend to go out on tangents quite frequently.

I put the date of when I wrote them at the top of each one.  I’m still working out some of the bugs and wanted to make sure that the date was recorded to provide some context.  Going forward (there it is again, take a drink, or at least, drink if you read it in the voice of Luke Ravenstahl), I won’t be adding the date, but it should show up on the main blog feed.

The naming convention (starting the titles with ‘Wherein’) will continue, although there are of course, a few exceptions here and there (this special week of posts being one of them).  I’ve also switched from using the penname, to signing each post with my real name, as I’m safe now.  As they say, The King is dead, long live the King.

I didn’t realize how much I repeated myself.  But I guess there are just some themes and stories I keep going back to: they’re important and mean so much, so if you read through the archives, you’ll see them each about three times.

And while I did censor myself periodically, I tried to be as open and honest as I could be.  And that was one of the reactions that I’ve received a lot, how honest I am in my writing.

Writing is very cathartic for me, and being so open, even with myself, was a big help.  As was going back to read each entry, it was interesting to get a glimpse of my headspace at each moment in time, as well as see what’s really important.  There is a lot of emotion and a lot of honesty in my writing, it’s how I cope with things.

I’ll continue to write, trying to be as honest as I can be.  I’ve even felt inspired to do a video, but for now, I’ll probably pass.  Maybe it will become a collaborative effort, but for now, I’m more comfortable behind a keyboard than in front of a camera.  Well, I guess that’s always the case.

There’s still a lot of work to be done, even if the BSA’s ban is lifted, or, the current compromise being floated is put in place.  I’m still anxious to say that this will happen, I don’t want to get my hopes up just to be disappointed once more.  That will make fighting that much harder.  But fight on we must.

It’s not a perfect solution.  In fact it isn’t really a solution, more of a step in the right direction.  But we should celebrate what it is.

Yes, it gives the BSA an easy out.  An easy way to weasel out of having to take a stand (ignoring the fact that they’ve taken a stand for 30 years now), but it is still progress.

And yes, I hope that I can still help out.  I have some ideas how I can directly help the camp directors this year if they need it, as well as work with the Alumni Association.  And as long as my schedule works out, I’d love to go up for Beaver Weekend (and I’d be happy putting up tents if that’s where they want me, honest, I bet I'm still pretty good on a work crew).

There has been a lot of chatter on Facebook about the proposed policy change, almost all of it encouraging.  And it’s nice to know that I have some allies, even now.

The criticism of course, hurts.  The derogatory language and slurs hurt.  And it hurts not just me, but the other staff members and youth members, gay or straight.

Working on camp staff, we were judged by the work we performed, nothing else.  Scouting belongs in the great outdoors, and we should be looking to our camp staffs for guidance on this issue.  They already, almost universally, understand that a person is not defined by their sexuality, but instead their commitment and growth, their willingness to help a fellow Scout, talk with a volunteer and run the resident camp programs that so many use to define the Scouting movement.

These are the leaders not only of tomorrow, but of today.  They are the ones sacrificing their time, oftentimes their entire summers, to lead “the game with a purpose.”  We owe them the respect which they have already earned.  And as they run camping programs across the country, we should instead be focusing our attention to making sure they have the resources they need to put together the best program for the youth who come through the gates of their camps.

Heterosexual staff members can easily take for granted the world to which they’ve been exposed.  And this is not in any way to diminish their own stories and the hard work that they put in.  But LGBT youth carry additional burdens with them: a constant barrage of media telling them they are not worthy of love, that they are destroying society.  Even questioning if their own family and friends will still love them when they come out.

I like to think that I’m a remarkably strong individual, but no one comes out of that landscape unscathed, not even me.  But if a young person feels at home in Scouts, who are we to tell him or her that they’re not welcome, or that they are somehow broken.

Institutionalized discrimination hurts children.  It is a cause of emotional harm and in some cases, leads to their suicides.  I made this point exceptionally clear in my last post (the one with all the footnotes), and I hope that these two posts help those that don’t understand the fight for equality get a better perspective.  No one is asking for you to change your sexuality (since you can’t), but we will take the basic rights, decency and civility that we’ve been denied for so long.

Looking ahead, I’m very excited for the Pride celebrations.  I think I have a lot to be proud of.  Making it this far is exciting, and doing what I have in the past, to help those around me, and the fight now, are all things I’m proud of.  And I’m proud of what the LGBT community has accomplished, demanding the basic civil rights that we’re denied out of prejudice and bigotry.  I’m still totally afraid of large crowds, but I’ll force myself to enjoy it for once, hopefully I’ll run into some people at the events that I haven’t seen in a while.  And here's the "secret" about Pride: it celebrates radical inclusion.  Everyone is welcome (just like the Episcopal Church), and we mean everyone.  Come down and party with us.

My family and friends of course, have been nothing short of amazing.  They’ve all been supportive and while I still hate the feeling of being the center of attention, I am happy to be a resource and will continue to fight for equality, this week and in the future.

Coming out was tough, but I’m better for it.  I oftentimes forget that it’s happened, both because I was forced to hide for so long, but also because there are much more interesting and important aspects to me.  I still take the hate I see online and in the media to heart, but I feel as though I’m getting better at that.

And you know what would help even more?  Being welcomed back up to camp and spending an hour or so reading on that one rock by the lake that I miss so much.

All my best,

Mike

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Even more specifically, I’m grateful for volunteers and staff across the country embracing the Journey to Excellence ... together wrapping our arms around this notion that we’re on a sacred mission to serve more young people … and gaining traction on “The Main Thing”—providing a quality Scouting experience to more and more young people.
-Bob's Blog[i]

Every qualified youth should have the opportunity to join the Scouts.
-Laurel Highlands Council President, Pittsburgh, Pa.

The Boy Scouts should be supporting all youth, and providing a quality Scouting experience to more and more young people, just as Chief Scout Executive Bob Mazucca has said.

We do a disservice to the youth of America by denying membership to LGBT youth, not only by refusing them access to this amazing program, but by contributing to a social climate which degrades and inflicts harm on the very youth we are seeking to serve[ii].  We should not say that “qualified” youth should have the opportunity to join the Scouts; instead we should affirm that all youth should have the opportunity to join the Scouts.

Studies have shown that youth who are surrounded by supportive friends and family are less likely to harm themselves [iii]:

Now the first longitudinal study to look at suicide ideation and self-harm in this population shows support from friends and family offers the most protection in preventing youths from thinking about suicide. Adolescents who know they can talk to their parents about problems and know they have friends who care about them are less likely to consider ending their lives, according to new Northwestern Medicine research.

LGBT youth face higher rates of drug and alcohol abuse, due to the discrimination they feel on a daily basis[iv] and are much more likely to have attempted suicide or be clinically depressed[v][vi], and those feelings continue throughout their entire lives[vii].

Currently, more than half of LGBT youth do not feel safe in their communities and schools[viii].  The BSA however, is in a unique position to make a positive change in the lives of these youth and to create an atmosphere of caring and support.  A recent study found that 94% of LGBT youth have been targeted (bullying, name-calling, harassment or physical violence) because of their sexuality[ix].   Up to 40% of the homeless youth in the country are LGBT, kicked out of their homes for who they are or leaving for fear of their own safety[x][xi].  But having a reach as wide and far-sweeping as the BSA allows us to be the change that these youth need[xii][xiii], to make them feel safer and giving them a place where they belong, bolstering our own ranks at the same time.

Schools with anti-harassment policies, especially those that include provisions to protect based on sexual orientation and gender identify make students feel safer at school[xiv], create fewer reports of missing school, fewer reports of feeling unsafe, greater academic achievement, higher educational aspirations and a greater sense of belonging[xv].  Programs at schools such as Exploring and after-school Scout meetings greatly add to this safe environment.

Currently, the BSA stands in opposition to major associations in keeping its ban in place: The American Medical Association[xvi], The American Psychiatric Association[xvii], The American Psychological Association[xviii], and The American Academy of Pediatrics[xix] have all affirmed the dignity of LGBT persons.  The American Academy of Pediatrics writes:

The overall goal in caring for youth who are or think they might be gay, lesbian, or bisexual is the same as for all youth: to promote normal adolescent development, social and emotional well-being, and physical health. If their environment is critical of their emerging sexual orientation, these adolescents may experience profound isolation and fear of discovery, which interferes with achieving developmental tasks of adolescence related to self-esteem, identity, and intimacy. Nonheterosexual youth often are subjected to harassment and violence; 45% of gay men and 20% of lesbians surveyed were victims of verbal and physical assaults in secondary school specifically because of their sexual orientation.

Nonheterosexual youth are at higher risk of dropping out of school, being kicked out of their homes, and turning to life on the streets for survival. Some of these youth engage in substance use, and they are more likely than heterosexual peers to start using tobacco, alcohol, and illegal drugs at an earlier age.

The BSA, instead of adding to this culture of exclusion, could instead be the leader in welcoming all youth.  But as long as the discriminatory policies still exist, the BSA will continue to lose charter partners and members[xx], awards will be publicly refused[xxi] and Eagle Scouts will continue to make headlines by returning their awards[xxii][xxiii][xxiv][xxv][xxvi].  These events force the BSA to spend time, energy and money on defending ourselves[xxvii], rather than serving the youth of the community and presenting the best program possible.

It is most imperative that the policy change in order to stop the institutionalized discrimination that contributes to the suicide of young people.  And to better serve those youth and reinforce to all young people that they have dignity and worth, we must also stop dismissing adults based on their own sexual orientation.  All youth need adults for guidance and to look up to; LGBT adults provide further evidence of a life worth living, and provide nonheterosexual youth members support and acceptance.  The American Psychological Association and American Sociological Association has reaffirmed that same-gendered parents provide the same level of supportive and healthy parenting as heterosexual adults[xxviii] [ixx].  And the members of the BSA are at no increased risk of youth protection incidents by allowing LGBT leaders:

The vast majority of men who abuse boys either aren't attracted to adults of either gender, or are straight men with an emotional disturbance that sends them regressing back to kids. In study after study, only the tiniest fraction of these abusers show interest in adult men, a percentage well below the fraction of openly gay men in society. That's why the American Psychological Association testified to the US Senate: "There is no evidence that homosexuals are more likely than heterosexuals to molest children.[xxix][xxx][xxxi][xxxii][xxxiii][xxxiv]

A good compromise, one that in my experience has the backing of many professional Scouters, and is currently being discussed by the national board, is to allow the Charter Organizations to select their leadership.  While many Charter Organizations may as of yet feel uncomfortable with LGBT leaders, many mainstream Christian denomination, houses of worship of all faiths, community groups and school districts have long since moved on from this issue, affirming the dignity of all youth and adults.  This compromise allows for greater freedom of choice for parents and youth, as well as allowing Charter Organizations to continue supporting units while remaining true to their own beliefs.

This compromise, however, is only a step, and should only allow Charter Organizations to continue to discriminate against adults.  If we truly are to be a youth-serving organization, then we must truly serve all youth.

Again, it is not a perfect solution, but rather a step in the right direction, but one that is badly needed to reaffirm that the BSA is committed to the development of young people and actually concerned for their safety and well-being.  Positive role-models and adult leadership of all sexualities are needed, but at the moment, the priority should be the youth, if that is all that can be changed.

And if that is the reality, while it will be a huge victory, I believe that the ban on adults will not be far behind, as time continues forward and those LGBT youth members become adults, either at 18 or 21 (depending on program).  Which also leads to the other situation which will drive equality forward: LGBT youth in Troops who become adults, but retain youth status in Crews, Posts and Lodges.

But until these discriminatory policies are changed, membership numbers will continue to decline.  Schools, community groups and churches are moving away from the BSA with more and more frequency[xxxv], and with them, the BSA loses their chance to have a positive impact on the youth of our nation[xxxvi].

The world is changing, even the idea of marriage equality, for years a far cry from being accepted, is now embraced by over half the country[xxxvii], and support of business that support LGBT equality continues to grow, and those businesses see very little backlash: instead they see gains to their bottom lines[xxxviii][xxxix].

Because if the discriminatory policy, the Boy Scouts have seen the loss of contributions from major corporations[xlv], such as UPS[xlvi], Intel[xlvii] and Merck[xlviii].  A reversal of this policy would restore these donations, as well as bring in new money from equality-minded individuals and organizations.

Companies with employees who are honest with who they are in the workplace have better interpersonal relationships with their coworkers and are more engaged in the workplace[xl].  Conversely, workplaces that have discriminatory policies in place see wasted money, less trust, less job satisfaction and less job loyalty[xli], costing over $64 billion a year.

If you choose to compare this change in policy to the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, a change to which there are certainly some parallels, more support is revealed.  The armed forces have seen virtually no impact on letting their members live their lives honestly, which they credit not only to the brave men and women serving, but also the leadership who implemented the lifting of the ban[xlii].  In fact, almost 70% of those in the Army asked felt no change whatsoever since the repeal[xliii] and The Commandant of the Marine Corps says that he has not heard of any problems related to the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell[xliv].

I worked full time for the Boy Scouts for five years.  Deciding to leave for another career opportunity was a very hard decision; I truly enjoyed working with the volunteers and staff, as well as doing incredible work with our outdoor adventure team.  What finally make the difference in deciding to leave was the BSA’s discriminatory policies.

I am an Eagle Scout, a Vigil Honor member of the Order of the Arrow and a Jack Ryan Award recipient.  I served on camp staff for 11 seasons.  Yet, if I had ever been honest, I would have been fired.  It is impossible to describe the immense pain that comes from working for an organization that would not even have you as a member.

But I endured, knowing that I was making a positive impact in the lives of those attending and working at our camps.

I’ve said it many times, and I will continue to say it, Scouting saved my life.  The bonds of friendship from camp staff, my Troop, my Crew and my Lodge are still some of the strongest friendships I have.  They are family.  Not once were any of them ever concerned with anyone’s sexuality.

I stayed quiet about my own sexual orientation for years, not only because it had no bearing on the work that I was performing, but also because I never once wanted anyone else to be in a position where they would have to lie to protect me.

I certainly hope that those volunteers and co-workers who valued my contributions fight for this cause, and I hope that the BSA does in fact remove this policy.  But even if the ban stays in place, LGBT members will still be Scouts of all ages, adult volunteers, board members and employees.

I refuse to stand by and let this amazing organization be lost to irrelevancy; the Boy Scouts of America has done so much good, and will continue to do so.  Let us help all the youth in America have the opportunity to join this amazing program and become Prepared.  For Life.



[i]Mazucca, Bob. "Holiday Thoughts From the Chief." Web log post. Bob's Blog. ScoutWire, 20 Dec. 2011. Web. <http://scout-wire.org/2011/12/20/bob%E2%80%99s-blog-holiday-thoughts-from-the-chief/>.
[ii]Woodford, Michael R., Michael L. Howell, Perry Silverschanz, and Lotus Yu. "“That's So Gay!”: Examining the Covariates of Hearing This Expression Among Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual College Students." Journal of American College Health 60.6 (2012): 429-34. Print.
[iii]Paul, Maria. "News." What Shields Gay Youth from Suicide?: Northwestern University. Northwestern University, 14 Feb. 2012. Web. 29 Jan. 2013. <http://www.northwestern.edu/newscenter/stories/2012/02/gay-youth-suicide.html>.
[iv]Hunt, Jerome. "Why the Gay and Transgender Population Experiences Higher Rates of Substance Use." Center for American Progress. American Progress, 9 Mar. 2012. Web. 29 Jan. 2013. <http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/lgbt/report/2012/03/09/11228/why-the-gay-and-transgender-population-experiences-higher-rates-of-substance-use/>.
[v]Ford, Zack. "Study Shows Long-Term Consequences To Prejudice-Motivated Bullying And Victimization." ThinkProgress. N.p., 16 May 2011. Web. 29 Jan. 2013. <http://thinkprogress.org/lgbt/2011/05/16/177418/lgbt-bullying-consequences/?mobile=nc>.
[vi]Savage, Dan. "Gay Kids Are Still Killing Themselves." The Stranger. N.p., 13 Feb. 2012. Web. 29 Jan. 2013. <http://slog.thestranger.com/slog/archives/2012/02/13/gay-kids-are-still-killing-themselves>.
[vii]Fisher, Christopher. Midlands LGBT Needs Assessment Community Report. Health Canal. Niversity of Nebraska at Omaha, 24 June 2011. Web. <http://www.healthcanal.com/mental-health-behavior/18365-Higher-suicide-risk-for-Nebraska-LGBT-community-surfaces-first-study-being-out-healthier.html>.
[viii]Growing Up LGBT in America: NCOD Report. Washington, D.C.: Human Rights Campaign, 2012. Print.
[ix]Paul, Maria. "WHAT SHIELDS GAY YOUTH FROM SUICIDE?" What Shields Gay Youth from Suicide?: Northwestern University. Northwestern University, 14 Feb. 2012. Web. 29 Jan. 2013. <http://www.northwestern.edu/newscenter/stories/2012/02/gay-youth-suicide.html>.
[x]Wong, Curtis M. "Homeless LGBT Youth: The Next Battle For Equality." The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 08 Mar. 2012. Web. 29 Jan. 2013. <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/08/homeless-lgbt-youth-equality_n_1331171.html>.
[xi]"Gay and Transgender Youth Homelessness by the Numbers." Center for American Progress. Center for American Progress, 21 June 2010. Web. 29 Jan. 2013. <http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/lgbt/news/2010/06/21/7980/gay-and-transgender-youth-homelessness-by-the-numbers/>.
[xii]Liu, Richard T., and Brian Mustanski. Suicidal Ideation and Self-Harm in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Youth. N.p., 14 Feb. 2012. Web. <http://www.ajpmonline.org/webfiles/images/journals/amepre/AMEPRE_3315%5B3%5D-stamped.pdf>.
[xiii]Savage, Dan. "Gay Kids Are Still Killing Themselves." The Stranger. N.p., 13 Feb. 2012. Web. 29 Jan. 2013. <http://slog.thestranger.com/slog/archives/2012/02/13/gay-kids-are-still-killing-themselves>.
[xiv]Growing Up LGBT in America: NCOD Report. Washington, D.C.: Human Rights Campaign, 2012. Print.
[xv]2009 National School Climate Survey. GLSEN. Gay Lesbian and Straight Education Network, 14 Sept. 2010. Web. <http://www.glsen.org/cgi-bin/iowa/all/news/record/2624.html>.
[xvi]"AMA Policies on GLBT Issues." AMA Policy Regarding Sexual Orientation. American Medical Association, n.d. Web. 29 Jan. 2013. <http://www.ama-assn.org/ama/pub/about-ama/our-people/member-groups-sections/glbt-advisory-committee/ama-policy-regarding-sexual-orientation.page>.
[xvii]http://www.psych.org/Departments/EDU/Library/APAOfficialDocumentsandRelated/PositionStatements/200001.aspx
[xviii]"APA on Children Raised by Gay and Lesbian Parents." APA on Children Raised by Gay and Lesbian Parents. American Psychological Association, 11 June 2011. Web. 29 Jan. 2013.
[xix]Frankowski, Barbara L. "Sexual Orientation and Adolescents." Sexual Orientation and Adolescents. American Academy of Pediatrics, n.d. Web. 29 Jan. 2013. <http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/113/6/1827.full>.
[xx]Towle, Andy. "Boy Scouts | Discrimination | Education | Florida." Towleroad. N.p., 12 Oct. 2011. Web. 29 Jan. 2013. <http://www.towleroad.com/2011/10/bs.html?utm_source=feedburner>.
[xxi]Signorile, Michelangelo. "James Beard Foundation President Returns Award to Boy Scouts."The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 19 Apr. 2012. Web. 29 Jan. 2013. <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michelangelo-signorile/james-beard-foundation-pr_b_1439135.html>.
[xxii]Towle, Andy. "EAGLE SCOUT RENOUNCES RANK OVER BOY SCOUTS POLICY ON GAYS." Towleroad. N.p., 18 June 2012. Web. 29 Jan. 2013. <http://www.towleroad.com/2012/06/naka.html?utm_source=feedburner>.
[xxiii]Cox, Ted. "Returned Badges, Presidential Opposition: Backlash to the Boy Scouts’ Anti-Gay Policies." The Good Men Project. N.p., 14 Aug. 2012. Web. 29 Jan. 2013. <http://goodmenproject.com/ethics-values/the-good-life-returned-badges-presidential-opposition-backlash-to-the-boy-scouts-anti-gay-policies/>.
[xxiv]http://equalscouts.tumblr.com/
[xxv]Rhodes, Dawn. "Oak Park Eagle Scout Returns Medal in Protest." Chicago Tribune. N.p., 30 July 2012. Web. 29 Jan. 2013. <http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-07-30/news/ct-met-oak-park-eagle-scout-20120730_1_zach-wahls-anti-gay-policy-return-medals>.
[xxvi]http://eaglebadges.tumblr.com/
[xxvii]Waldron, Leah. "Director of Community Relations at Virginia Council Boy Scouts of America Tells Me to 'Start My Own Club' - WingerJock." WingerJock. N.p., 10 Aug. 2012. Web. 29 Jan. 2013. <http://www.wingerjock.com/2012/08/10/director-of-community-relations-at-virginia-council-boy-scouts-of-america-tells-me-to-start-my-own-club/>.
[xxviii]Sexual Orientation, Parents, & Children. American Psychological Association, 28 July 2004. Web. <http://www.apa.org/about/policy/parenting.aspx>.
[xxix]Tisinai, Rob. "Protect the Children (and Mean It)." Waking Up Now. N.p., 1 Aug. 2012. Web. 29 Jan. 2013. <http://wakingupnow.com/blog/protect-the-children-and-mean-it>.
[xxx] Jenny, Carole; Roesler, Thomas A,; Poyer, Kimberly L. “Are Children at risk for sexual abuse by homosexuals?” Pediatrics 94, no 1 (1994). Print.
[xxxi] Groth, A Nicholas; Birnbaum, H Jean “Adult sexual orientation and attraction to underage persons.” Archives of Sexual Behavior 7, no. 3 (1978). Print.
[xxxii] McConaghy, N. “Paedophilia: A review of the evidence.” Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry. (1998). Print.
[xxxiii]Stevenson, Michael R. “Public policy, homosexuality, and sexual coercion of children.”  Journal of Psychology & human sexuality 12, no 4 (2000). Print.
[xxxiv] Freund, Kurt; Watson, Robin J.; Rienzo, Douglas.  “Heterosexuality, homosexuality , and the erotic age preference.”  Journal of Sex Research 26, no. 1 (1989). Print.
[xxxv]Adam, Seth. "NJ School Drops Boy Scouts Charter over 'egregious' Anti-gay Ban." GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation), 25 Oct. 2012. Web. 29 Jan. 2013. <http://www.glaad.org/blog/nj-school-drops-boy-scouts-charter-over-egregious-anti-gay-ban>.
[xxxvi]Schroeder, Joanna. "This Is Why I Withdrew My Son From Cub Scouts." The Good Men Project. N.p., 7 Oct. 2012. Web. 29 Jan. 2013. <http://goodmenproject.com/good-feed-blog/this-is-why-i-withdrew-my-son-from-cub-scouts/?utm_source=rss>.
[xxxvii]"Joe.My.God." Joe. My. God. N.p., 12 July 2012. Web. 29 Jan. 2013. <http://joemygod.blogspot.com/2012/07/marriage-equality-mainstream-value.html>.
[xxxviii]Holden, Dominic. "NOM's Starbucks Boycott Backfires." The Stranger. N.p., 28 Mar. 2012. Web. 29 Jan. 2013. <http://slog.thestranger.com/slog/archives/2012/03/28/noms-starbucks-boycott-backfires>.
[xxxix]White, Martha C. "Some Businesses See Benefits to Pro-gay Stance." NBC News. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Jan. 2013. <http://www.nbcnews.com/business/some-businesses-see-benefits-pro-gay-stance-877625?streamSlug=businessmain>.
[xl]Cassels, Peter. "Study: People More Comfortable With Out Co-Workers Than Closeted Ones." EDGE New England. N.p., 27 Sept. 2011. Web. 29 Jan. 2013. <http://www.edgenewengland.com/news/workplace/125050/study:_people_more_comfortable_with_out_co-workers_than_closeted_ones_>.
[xli]Burns, Crosby. The Costly Business of Discrimination. Washington, D.C.: Center for American Progress, 2012. Print.
[xlii]Watts, Laurence. "Six Months on from DADT Repeal and Nothing's Changed." The Huffington Post. N.p., 20 Mar. 2012. Web. 29 Jan. 2013. <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/laurence-watts/dadt-repeal-six-months-later_b_1359584.html>.
[xliii]Standifer, Cid. "Survey: DADT Repeal Has Less Impact than Expected - Army News | News from Afghanistan & Iraq - Army Times." Army Times. N.p., 12 Mar. 2012. Web. 29 Jan. 2013. <http://www.armytimes.com/news/2012/03/military-times-2012-poll-dont-ask-dont-tell-repeal-has-less-impact-than-expected-031212w/>.
[xliv]Lavers, Michael K. "Top U.S. Marine: Openly Gay Servicemembers Not an Issue."Washington Blade. N.p., 28 Aug. 2012. Web. 29 Jan. 2013. <http://www.washingtonblade.com/2012/08/28/top-u-s-marine-openly-gay-servicemembers-not-an-issue/>.
[xlv]Liebelson, Dana. "Boy Scouts Losing Big Funders Over Anti-Gay Policy." Mother Jones. N.p., 23 Jan. 2013. Web. 30 Jan. 2013. <http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2013/01/boy-scouts-verizon-protest-lgbt>.
[xlvi]McQuade, Aaron. "Boy Scouts of America No Longer Eligible for Grant Funding from The UPS Foundation." GLAAD. N.p., 12 Nov. 2012. Web. 30 Jan. 2013. <http://www.glaad.org/blog/boy-scouts-america-no-longer-eligible-grant-funding-ups-foundation>.
[xlvii]Ford, Zack. "Intel Clarifies That No Donations Will Be Made To Any Boy Scouts Troop That Discriminates." ThinkProgress. N.p., 21 Sept. 2012. Web. 30 Jan. 2013. <http://thinkprogress.org/lgbt/2012/09/21/891721/intel-clarifies-that-no-donations-will-be-made-to-any-boy-scouts-troop-that-discriminates/?mobile=nc>.
[xlviii]"Merck Foundation Suspends Funding to the Boy Scouts of America." Merck. N.p., 5 Dec. 2012. Web. 30 Jan. 2013. <http://www.mercknewsroom.com/news/company-statements/merck-foundation-suspends-funding-boy-scouts-america>.
[ixx] "Amicus Curiae (Perry v Schwartenager & United States v Windsor)" American Sociological Association. 1 March 2013. <http://equalityontrial.com/2013/02/28/american-sociological-association-files-supreme-court-brief-addressing-same-sex-parenting/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=american-sociological-association-files-supreme-court-brief-addressing-same-sex-parenting>

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The BSA’s national board meets next week, and on their agenda is a possible change to the membership policy.  You can read the media statement here.  Again, it’s not full and total equality, but a huge step in the right direction (more about that Thursday and Friday).

They’ve opened up a special phone number, (972) 580-2330, and e-mail address, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to take comments and you can leave a comment on their Facebook page.  All you have to say is that you are for the policy change.

I’m just asking for two minutes of your time, as a personal favor.  I’ll owe you a cup of coffee. Send a quick-email, add a facebook comment or call (they’re in Central Time by the way), just to say you support the policy change.  Even if you don’t think you know anyone associated with the BSA, you do (that would be me by the way, just as one example).

I’ll be releasing a special series of blog posts over the next few days as we push to get this change enacted.  And yes, I’d love to be able to go back to the camps I love to volunteer, but honestly, this is more about the safety and well-being of young people across the country.  And for that reason, we can’t afford to not push as hard as we can.

So please, all I’m asking for is two minutes, not a big commitment.  It would mean a great deal to me, the youth who are being told everyday they’re not as deserving as their peers and maybe even your future children.

If you’re still not convinced, read on, I’ll be making that case for equality in the following posts (links will be updated each day, or check out the main blog page):

Thursday - The case against discrimination

  • A comprehensive look at discrimination and how it harms young people, the need for role models and the losses that the BSA incurs from it’s discriminatory ban.  Study citations listed in the footnotes.


Friday - One month later

  • An update about my own story since I released all my previous blog posts, what life has been like since leaving the BSA and the ongoing fight for equality.


Saturday - BSA camp staff and the destruction wrought by discrimination

  • A moving video from a Program Director as he discusses what camp has meant to him and the fight for his rights.


Sunday - Fighting against first graders

  • A recent news story about what will hopefully be the last time first graders are discriminated against by the BSA.


Monday - Story time with Mike

  • Camp staff memories and the amazing alumni that I’ve worked with over the course of eleven summer seasons.


Tuesday - 1+1=3 : The business case for equality

  • With a nod to days gone by at camp, I attempt to do math.


Wednesday - Scoutmaster’s Minute

  • Bringing the discussion back home to Pittsburgh, home of the BSA’s founder, William D. Boyce.

 

It Gets Better: If you need help, please, please talk to someone you trust.  If you're thinking of harming yourself, in a bad place, or don't have anyone to talk to, please call the Trevor Project, the call is anonymous, and they're there to listen to you: (866) 488-7386.  We're all here for you and we care about you.  You are not alone.  Please be safe.

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“We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths—that all of us are created equal—is the star that guides us still, just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls and Selma and Stonewall,

I have to admit, that I had to look up the cities of Seneca Falls and Selma:

Seneca Falls is a New York town where, in 1848, the women’s suffrage movement gathered momentum. Selma is an Alabama city where, in 1965, marchers amassed, blood was shed and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stood his ground against the unconscionable oppression of black Americans.

Aside from of course, the sentence construction, which resounded very nicely, it's a historic moment.  Never before in an inauguration address has a president acknowledged, and then moved on to fight for, the LGBT community.

It's been talked about a lot this last week, but it really is monumental.

Before the riots at Stonewall that kicked off the equality movement, it was illegal to serve alcohol to anyone who was LGBT.  We could not assemble in groups, use the postal service to mail anything  associated with equality.  Our community was harassed, jailed and blackmailed.

Stonewall was the tipping point when we fought back (side note, it's hard to write this in the proper tense, since I wasn't born yet, but just go with it) for dignity and equality.  Certainly it's a fight that continues today, and has a ways to go, but at the same time, has been so rapid.

And it's empowering and amazing to have a president who will stand up for our rights.  There was a quote after the last election about how it was

"the minorities, women, African Americans, LGBT, Hispanics, that reelected the President (as well as so many other left-leaning victories).  Or as we like to call ourselves, citizens."

I've been more and more sad opening facebook and other social media as I see people fight and bicker and choose sides.  And I think that's part of the problem.  We don't need sides; we all have to live together.  And once we can recognize and embrace each other's humanity, and work through our problems together, then we'll be in a much better place.

All my best,

Mike

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First up, I'm at a bit of a loss for words.  Remember how the Catholic Church is strangely concerned with all of our private bits and the sex that we have?  You know, with the "pro-life" stance and the marches and the protests and whatnot?  Well, they can change that position as soon as it's financially beneficial to them (you know, after basically killing the two children in this sad, sad story).

And just a reminder, open, legal, safe access to comprehensive health care (which includes abortion and family planning services), as well as marriage equality, results in more stable families.

People being awesome:

So now we can 3D print houses for use on the moon!  And of course, it's a Mobius strip, which is totally cool!

The Good Men Project is launching the Hacker Scouts.  Building rockets, small electronics, sounds like fun.  If you're in NYC, check it out.

The good Men Project also looks at the unthinkable: What if my son doesn't like Star Wars?

Too nerdy not to pass up:

 The original Batmobile sold for 4.2 million.

So, in Utah you can be fired for what your boss thinks your political affiliation is.  Crazy.

That's it for now, have a great one!

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I don't do this very often, but I have a flat-out product recommendation.

I was a kickstarter backer for an app called "Zombies, Run!"  You may have heard of it, I finally got the chance to use it, and I can't recommend it enough.

I've been using the weekends for strictly cardio at the gym, which is a nice change for me, and offers me some better people watching, so I loaded up some music and started the app.

The premise of the app is that you're a runner for the town of Abel in a zombie-infested world, although Mission one sets it all up.  You run out, collecting items the town needs and have to evade zombies.  Zombies will randomly pop up each mission and you have to run faster, otherwise you have to drop an item to distract them and get away.  The story is told to you between the music on your phone, and as you pick up items, you hear that over the music.

The voice acting is out of this world amazing and I've already become sucked into the story and the characters.

There is an "expansion" for couch to 5k, which I've done before, but I'd like to do it again, and it fits between missions one and two, so perfect for me.

I honestly wish I had more time at the gym during the week so I could do more missions, and I know the creators had said if it was a big enough success they would record a season two, so here's hoping.

I'll probably be adding a link to the sidebar, but until then, if you want to follow along and see my progress, check out my town here.

Zombies, Run! is available for Android, iPhone and Windows Phone (the c25k expansion is not yet available for Windows Phone, but at least in Google Play, it's on sale for a buck right now).

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Written: 1/20/2013

Lana Wachowski, of Matrix fame, received the HRC Visibility Award, recognizing her brave and public transition.  She's very private and very nervous, but her speech is amazing and engaging, if you have some time, watch it:

A lot of times, I have trouble remembering pronouns, of anybody.  But I certainly try to make sure I get it right for anyone transgendered, transexual or any other kind of gender identity that I'm forgetting (and not out of malice or hate).  And the rule of thumb, is to use the pronoun that the person prefers, although I think that is just basic decency.

I've mentioned it before, but the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell still doesn't allow transgendered individuals to serve in the armed forces.  On one hand, they can sometimes more easily blend into society (but not always, aside from the gender expression, they may also fall anywhere on the sexuality spectrum), but on many others they can't hide.

I'm still working to better understand those in my own community, but it's wonderful to see visibility grow and such an eloquent woman tell her story.

All my best,

Mike

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Alright, let's see what we have today.  First up, Carbolic Smoke Ball hits it out of the park.

Guns and comic books, covered here by Gutters.

On "Gun Appreciation Day," which, by the way, is horrid that it coincides with the MLK weekend, three different incidents of people being shot at gun shows.  But just be careful, the organization le pushing for this "appreciation day" are white supremicists.

A good piece on gun ownership, and how it scares me (I mean the author).  And in case you're wondering about assault weapons, check out Australia.

The best creative confessions:

Deadspin wins the Internet on how to react to Donald Trump.  And gifs come in.

GOProud, the LGBT Republican organization has finally come out to support marriage equality.  You should reread that.  January 18, 2013.  They just not think that marriage equality is worth fighting for.  Anyway, GOProud is a laughable group, trying to trick people into thinking the GOP actually cares about citizens.  And now they're outraged that they've become the laughing stock of the Internet.

Ancient riverbed discovered on Mars.  I just watched Star Talk on Nerdist where they talked about this!

That's it for now, but I'll be back with more soon, have a great one!

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Shorter post today, but let's see what we have.

First up, 40 bizarre interview questions.  Many of which, I'm pretty sure are illegal to actually ask, or base employment on.

A Game of Thrones line of beer is coming out, pretty awesome.

Heavy handed, but fun:

A recycling system that takes discarded plastic and turns it into 3D printer ink.

Want to go on a blind date?  Like right now?  OKCupid has you covered.

How to charge your phone without plugging it in.

Amazingly beautiful bioluminescent leaves:

And finally, the terrifying real examples of design jargon bullshit.

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Written: 1/16/2013

One of the other causes I've become interested in, even though I can't give blood (I'll tell you the story sometime, it's funny, and my arm turned purple and everything!).  Here's a good video summing up the situation (and even I learned that bisexual men can't give blood, I never realized that):

All my best,

Mike

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