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Copyright © 2000 by J. Neil Schulman. All rights reserved.
I got a mailing today from the Boy Scouts of America asking me to sponsor disadvantaged kids into scouting.
This was the first solicitation I'd ever received from the Boy Scouts, which tells me that they're purchasing new mailing lists.
It's obvious to me why the Boy Scouts organization is soliciting new financial support. Ever since the Supreme Court ruled that the Boy Scouts is a private organization, and thereby entitled to prevent gay men from being scoutmasters, the Boy Scouts of America has been under political attack from governmental and quasi-governmental entities that have been traditional supporters of scouting activities. Near my own turf, school boards and police departments have thrown the Boy Scouts out of public facilities under their control, on the grounds that since the Boy Scouts of America discriminates against gays and lesbians, it is in violation of equal-opportunity requirements legislated for the use of public facilities.
As a libertarian, I'm not particularly bothered by any private organization being denied a subsidy at taxpayer's expense; but fair access to taxpayer-funded facilities is another issue entirely. If you're going to pick the pocket of the taxpayers to make them pay for maintenance of, or improvements to, the commons, you don't get to deny any taxpayers among them use of the commons without damned good reason. If the Gay Men's Health Alliance can have a picnic in the public park, so must the Boy Scouts be allowed to as well -- and vice versa -- just so long as they don't do any one of that long list of prohibited activities that you'd want to go to the damned park for in the first place.
Let me be honest. I had fun as a Cub Scout but I could only hack being a Boy Scout for about a year before I quit. I just wasn't the right kid to be put in a tent by himself, overnight, in below-zero weather. So I don't have any romantic notions or nostalgia about scouting to cloud my judgment here.
Nevertheless, my first inclination was to write a check to the Boy Scouts.
Listen. We live in an age with epidemics of social diseases that didn't exist when I was a kid -- and I'm not referring to AIDS. If a boy is bored to manic distraction by a teacher who's as inspiring as a cemetery-plot pitchman, we say he has Attention Deficit Disorder and put him on legal psychoactive drugs (as opposed to the illegal psychoactive drugs he takes on his own initiative). But an inner city boy who concludes he's a conscript in a life-or-death turf war, because he's never been five miles out of his 'hood, isn't diagnosed with Provincial Ignorance Disorder, a condition that has a far higher mortality rate.
The Boy Scouts can treat Provincial Ignorance Disorder by taking a kid out of his claustrophobic little war for a little while and showing him that his world has escape hatches he didn't know existed. That's a good thing.
But before we get to the usefulness of the Boy Scouts in helping kids to survive to voting age, we have to get past the homosexual-rights issue.
In my 1983 futuristic novel, The Rainbow Cadenza, I believe I was the first heterosexual author to create a fictional universe where homosexuals have greater political power than heterosexuals. This portrayal is descriptive, not judgmental; I have yet to receive a single word of criticism for my portrayal from any gay reader -- and an Internet search revealed several complimentary references from gay readers.
Now, I hold to a view that more-politically extreme gays may condemn as "homophobic." I don't consider what gay men or gay women do to each other to be sex at all because sexual relations -- as we were taught by President Clinton -- involves a penis penetrating a vagina. I'm all in favor of orgasms, the more the merrier, and if two or more post-pubescent men or women want to do things among themselves that gets them off, great. But sex is what people have done, for the entire history of our species, in order to make more people. Orgasms are the dessert of sex, not the meal -- not even fully necessary for sex to have occurred -- and peripheral to the definition of sex. Tons of babies have been conceived through sexual intercourse without either participant orgasming. Just ask the boy at the business end of the shotgun wedding who told the girl he didn't even come.
I used to think what sex was good for was obvious; then I had to live through three decades listening to people who wanted nothing so much as eliminating human reproduction as much as possible. I've wised up.
Does this make me think that gays should be second-class citizens? Nopers. I don't think whether people have sex or not, or engage in orgasmic play or not, is anybody else's business.
But there's a corollary to that: what gay men do to achieve orgasm gives them no greater expectation to publicly-expressed pride, or public deference, or anyone's respect, or any special rights, than the men who are excited by women's shoes, or by being spanked, or by having their girlfriends wet their pants.
Homosexuality isn't any more of an identity than anything else done as an avocation. If being gay is a lifestyle, then so is being a sports fanatic. If there can be a Gay Pride Parade, there can be a Golf Pride Parade. Or, "Slot Players of the World unite! You have nothing to lose but your change!" Golfers and gamblers can fall in love with each other as easily as men who are attracted by each other's body parts.
The Boy Scouts of America is completely within its rights to demand that any specific choice of stimulating orgasms not be paraded before the pre-pubescent and adolescent boys and girls within their organization -- especially since they're chartered as a quasi-religious organization. The mailing I got from the Boy Scouts, asking for money, mentioned God eight -- and I counted it -- eight times.
There's another aspect to this that isn't talked about. Just as heterosexual men may be sexually excited by barely-pubescent girls (especially if they dress and make up very post-pubescently), homosexual men and women may be sexually excited, respectively, by barely-pubescent boys and girls.
Anyone who doesn't admit this as fact, at least with respect to male homosexuals, is simply lying. Priests who believe they'll go to hell for it have buggered choir boys. The male erectile response is so easily triggered, and the male sexual drive so strong, that homosexual men have frequently lost their lives, their freedom, their livelihoods, and all family ties pursuing it. The very fact that men will put up with the risks of violence, imprisonment, social disapproval, and loss of profession in order to pursue male-on-male orgasms proves how powerful this urge is. It doesn't matter whether you're born gay or become gay later. Does it matter whether being excited by lingerie is innate, imprinted, or learned, if a man so excited is in charge of inventory-control at Victoria's Secret and there are discrepancies?
The job of scoutmaster is, among other things, the job of chaperoning boys and girls, keeping them away from sex. Just as you wouldn't want unmarried adult heterosexual males chaperoning Girl Scouts, you don't want an unmarried adult homosexuals chaperoning young scouts of their own gender.
If gay men want to do something good for raising kids, let me suggest that the Girls Scouts of America is a far more appropriate organization for them than the Boy Scouts of America. If they are exclusively and unalterably gay, they are infinitely safer as chaperones to girls than to boys. Likewise, for lesbians in charge of girls, in either the Boy Scouts or the Girls Scouts; if they're only interacting with boys there's little risk.
But let's not demand that if an organization such as the Boy Scouts of America, dedicated to raising boys and girls safely and sensibly, declines to place wolves in charge of guarding sheep, we need to bar it from the public park.
My check to the Boy Scouts is in the mail.
J. Neil Schulman
December 7, 2000