It wasn't as hard as I thought it would be to clip the patch off my old uniform shirt or pry another from the plaque on my parent's wall. It was a pain to dig the medal out of the garage, because it was buried under a bunch of stuff that was too important to throw away, but not important enough to keep in the house. But the rest of it, writing the letter, putting it and the patches and medal into an envelope and sending it all back to the Boy Scouts of America, that was easy. After all, a Scout is brave, right?
Here's the letter I wrote:
Wayne Brock, Chief Scout ExecutiveI know a few hundred other Eagles have sent back their badges. I know BSA's national leadership couldn't give a good goddamn about us or LGBT Scouts or LGBT leaders, but I hope more of us add our voices to the chorus, until we drown out the bullies and the bigots. It would be nice if the Boy Scouts could stand on the right side of history, wouldn't it?
The National Boy Scouts of America Foundation
1325 W. Walnut Hill Lane
Irving, Texas 75015-2079
Dear Mr. Brock-
I am an Eagle Scout.
Whenever someone would ask me if I’d been a Boy Scout, I’d smile and say that. I am an Eagle Scout. Never was. That implied that the award was a milestone I’d walked past, something I was supposed to put behind me on the road to adulthood. My Scoutmasters taught me that wasn’t the case. Everything I learned, from my merit badges to my service project to my recitations of the Scout Oath and Scout Law, they became a part of me, and I was to carry those lessons with me the rest of my life.
I am an Eagle Scout.
I am returning this medal and these patches to you, because I can no longer keep them. They are symbols of an organization that has taken its basic ideals and twisted them in the name of bigotry. By excluding LGBT adults from leadership roles and by excluding LGBT Scouts, the BSA has shown they are not friendly, courteous, or kind. By hiding the names of the committee who decided to keep the BSA’s discriminatory policies in place, the BSA is not brave.
You are cowards, and bullies, and bigots, and I won’t have anything to do with you.
From now on, when people ask me if I was in Scouting, I’ll tell them I was an Eagle Scout. And then I’ll tell them why.
Adam R. Rakunas
Costa Mesa, CA
5:41 PM PT: Thank you for the recs. Wow.