A Scout is Brave

Pascal Tessier

In a couple of months, when he turns 18, Pascal Tessier, who is probably the first openly gay Eagle Scout, will, by the operation of the laws of Jesus and the Angel Moroni, be deemed unfit to be associated with Scouting, since they still don’t accept openly gay adult leaders. Pascal plans on applying to be an adult leader, which will give the Boy Scouts yet another opportunity to either look like feckless cowards or to accept the inevitable schism in their organization that will occur once they start treating homosexuals like human beings. If the latter happens, I wonder if we’ll see a war between troops in the bible belt and the polygamy belt over whether they should be called “Jesus Scouts” or “Brigham Scouts”. No matter, because everyone else will call them “Bigot Scouts”.

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73 replies
  1. 1
    low-tech cyclist says:

    I’ll leave the politics for later, and just say, “Congratulations, Pascal!”

  2. 2
    Schlemizel says:

    The kid is a hero! To come out at 18, and to do it knowing the consequences for something he has worked so hard on. He gets full marks

  3. 3
    Jay C says:

    I’m going to go with “look like feckless cowards” here: however sterling a character young Pascal might be, there are still too many supporters of the BSA out there (I’m thinking the BSA in particular, not the idea of “scouting”) who think the whole org ought to be an extended church group, rather than a secular, non-discriminatory movement reflecting the entirely of society. Or just all-Mormon.

  4. 4
    aimai says:

    Years ago someone said to me “There is no braver person than the bearded cross dresser walking down the street.” I was probably a teenager back then and it struck me and stayed with me all these years. I was thinking about it today when viewing the Michael Sams video the Times has up, and the long article about him. This kid has literally nothing to fall back on without football. He comes from the most chaotic family, the most indifferent upbringing, the most poverty stricken town and if football throws him out over his coming out he has nothing to fall back on but the friends he made over the years–and they don’t have much either. What incredible courage he has shown. What unbelievable courage Pascal has shown.

  5. 5
    Corner Stone says:

    Hatred, ignorance and fear is a powerful cocktail.

  6. 6
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Schlemizel: He came out when he was sixteen. Testified at Scout hearings about gays in Scouting when he was 17. His older brother, who is also gay, is also an Eagle scout. I think it is safe to say he had a lot of familial support. Too bad not all gays do.

  7. 7
    some guy says:

    bravery and courage are values we need to teach our kids, and Pascal seems to fit that to a T. bravo, Pascal Tessier.

  8. 8
    Fuzzy says:

    I hope his quest is fulfilled but I’m getting a little worn out by the constant media attention to every “coming out”. It is so commonplace that I am tired of hearing about it on every single media source. Quit making a big PC deal of old news and let me, as a straight man just get on with my life not have to be confronted for being part of the 95% who are heterosexual.

  9. 9
    rikyrah says:

    Go ahead, young man.

    Be the leader that you have been raised to be.

  10. 10
    currants says:

    @aimai: Absolutely. And it’s a shame on our country that so many young people so often–for so many decades–have had no one to fall back on. Indifference is bad enough; outright hostility may be a tribal mechanism, but it offers only a very limited short term solidarity.

  11. 11
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Fuzzy: Whoosh! That was the sound of the point of this piece rushing past your head.

  12. 12
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Fuzzy: Confronted? WTF?

  13. 13
    raven says:

    @aimai: He has an education from the University of Missouri.

  14. 14
    raven says:

    @Fuzzy: Fuck your miserable little life.

  15. 15
    NotMax says:

    May be the nerdiest looking group of scouts in one photo ever.

  16. 16
    JPL says:

    @raven: It’s just doug being bored again. Yesterday Limbaugh was spouting the same shit.

  17. 17
    Punchy says:

    OT, and not here to start a fight, but god damn. Once again. Sigh. No, they’re not dangerous. Not at all.

  18. 18
    gbear says:

    @Fuzzy: When coming out can still cause you to lose everything (and in some places it can still cause you to lose everything), it can still be seen as a big deal. It’s news. Sorry to take up your precious heterosexual time with our petty issues.

  19. 19
    aimai says:

    @Fuzzy: Is this a joke?

    If you want to be noticed for your courage you could get off the fucking barcalounger and do something courageous, you know. Everyone gets many chances to be a hero, and to be noticed. You could start your own heterosexual personality cult, like Warren Jeffs or famously dump wife after wife in a serial monogamy heterosexual dance of abandonment, like Newt Gingerich, or become Pope of a famously celibate religious organization and refuse to get married at all while refusing to help gay people get married. Or you could just try to do something, anything, meaningful with your life. The rest of us “95 percent heterosexuals” really don’t care–just do something rather than whine about the insigificance of your life.

  20. 20
    aimai says:

    @raven: Yes, sure, but in this economy what does that mean, really? I mean he has no family money or support to fall back on and he was clearly planning on working in a very specific field, football–he wasn’t training to be in the back office or an accountant or anything else, and its not like those fields are hiring.

  21. 21
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @Fuzzy: Yeah! And when will those assholes like Kate Middleton stop confronting people with their heterosexuality?

  22. 22
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @NotMax: Anecdote: My nephew, who had been an enthusiastic Cub Scout and Webelo, dropped out of scouting after less than a year in the BSA. Scheduling conflicts with soccer factored in, but the right wing nut job nerdiness of the people in the troop was a bigger factor. The kids were not people with whom he wanted to be associated. Oddly, my nephew is the type of kid who exactly fits the old perception of a potential Eagle Scout. It is scouting’s loss, not the kid’s.

  23. 23
    Scott S. says:

    @Fuzzy: WHY DO THEY KEEP FORCING THEIR GAY WINKITY-BOOS DOWN YOUR THROAT?!?

  24. 24
    aimai says:

    @Scott S.: +1 for Winkty Boos.

  25. 25
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Fuzzy: was going to pile on, but that would be piling on. Besides, I’m sure you feel plenty stupid already for your in-artfully worded statement.

  26. 26
    Tokyokie says:

    I loathe BSA so deeply that I stopped contributing to United Way because some of my donation would go to the organization. (As I recall, you could specify where you wanted your donation to go — I’d always select the women’s shelter and the AIDS resource center — but only half would be divvied up that way. United Way would split the other half as it saw fit.)

  27. 27
    DaveinMaine says:

    There are already Jesus Scouts, though not of the Mormon persuasion. They’re called Royal Rangers.

  28. 28
    balconesfault says:

    Let’s give some praise … SERIOUS praise … to the leadership of Pascal’s Troop 52.

    There are many ways a less enlightened Scoutmaster/Troop Committee could have made Pascal’s Scouting experience miserable and hostile. The leadership had to work with scouts who grow up in a society where anti-gay slurs are still commonplace among young boys, to work with parents where there must have been some level of pushback … and to maintain a positive environment.

    And that’s the beauty of Scouting. National might still have a bunch of bigots (from my experience, many fighting their own demons tooth and nail) in upper ranks, but locally units can be run very progressively.

  29. 29
    Corner Stone says:

    Just not a fan of Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

  30. 30
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Fuzzy: Oh, and take the 10 minutes to watch this: Oppressed Majority. It might help. Than again, maybe not.

  31. 31
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Fuzzy:
    Comings-out of gay people are being made a fuss of not to celebrate gayness, but because society is undergoing a transition from regarding gayness as a form of depravity to regarding it as part of the normal range of behaviour. That transition may take a generation or more, so bear with it. At least you’re living in a society that has largely begun to recognise the need for that transition. I can’t even begin to dream of my own very conservative south-east Asian society making that initial recognition.

  32. 32
    balconesfault says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: My son (a third generation Eagle, btw) forwarded me that link yesterday. Sadly, I doubt that it’s anything more than preaching to the choir … those who don’t understand all the ways society presents a hostile environment to women before they watch probably aren’t going to understand afterwards.

    OK, perhaps some 14 year old boys might watch because of the boobies on the joggers early on … and start to think about some things they otherwise wouldn’t. But if someone’s made it to 20 without already internalizing the lessons of that video, they’re probably committed to never learning..

  33. 33
    Butch says:

    @NotMax: Yeah, maybe they are, but do you see one hint in any of their faces that they’re the least bit troubled by what they’re seeing? That’s the future.

  34. 34
    Ripley says:

    Fuzzy’s one of the racists who trolls TWIB, so no big surprises with his post here.

  35. 35
    Corner Stone says:

    @Butch: I, for one, welcome our nerdily enlightened overlords.

  36. 36
    JPL says:

    @Ripley: If the troll feels victimized, you have to wonder about his life.

  37. 37
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Ripley:
    Damn. Now I wish I’d just told him to go fuck himself.

  38. 38
    Scott S. says:

    @Tokyokie: That’s exactly why I quit contributing to the United Way. And it felt better to be able to direct any of my donations directly to groups I supported, rather than trusting some other organization to dole them out for me…

  39. 39
    Schlemizel says:

    @Fuzzy:
    It must suck being you. But then again you have so little awareness of the world around you it is entirely possible you and not even aware what an inflamed asshole you really are. While thats nice for yo the rest of the world has to suffer for it.

  40. 40
    raven says:

    @aimai: You said nothing, I disagree.

  41. 41
    Tokyokie says:

    @Schlemizel: That and UW’s bloated overhead.

  42. 42
    Chris says:

    Much as I hope the BSA changes because I know how many people enjoy it, reading these stories just makes me glad I didn’t stick with it as a kid. Life’s too short to stick it out in Bigots ‘R Us organizations and hope that maybe someday they’ll get better.

  43. 43
    Chris says:

    @Fuzzy:

    ADMIRAL! There be trolls here!

  44. 44
    Butch says:

    @Corner Stone: Thanks for the laugh. I needed that.

  45. 45
    slippytoad says:

    @Fuzzy:

    I’m getting a little worn out by the constant media attention to every “coming out”

    Well, that is your fault for being a slave to the glass teat. If you can manage to mind your own business, you’ll find that other people’s affairs don’t disturb you at all.

    Try it some fucking time.

  46. 46
    slippytoad says:

    @Fuzzy:

    I’m getting a little worn out by the constant media attention to every “coming out”

    Well, that is your fault for being a slave to the glass teat. If you can manage to mind your own business, you’ll find that other people’s affairs don’t disturb you at all.

    Try it some fucking time.

  47. 47
    cane giallo says:

    This was the ideal place for this to happen. Montgomery County, MD is much more than averagely liberal. There is not a single Republican among all the elected officials from this county (county/state/federal). I’m not saying it wasn’t courageous of him, but he was fortunate in being in a supportive place, geographically.

    (And am I the only one who thinks he looks like Kurt on Glee?)

  48. 48
    kindness says:

    I was a Boy Scout. I made it to Star Scout (one under Eagle) before I decided the troop I was in was geeky. We only went on one (two max one year) camp outs a year and I liked that more than anything else the Scouts gave me. My parents weren’t happy but understood where I was coming from.

  49. 49
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Chris: As has been said, not every troop or council is filled with bigots. In many areas the local leadership is way ahead of national. And while Scouting is a choice, and is not for everyone, I always enjoy contrasting the Scouting approach to ethical questions with that of, say, some organized religion. Compare “Thou shall not steal” with “A Scout is trustworthy.” You have a series of mostly “thou shalt not’s” against a series of “A Scout *is*” Not only are the qualities presented as positive attributes, they are not judgmental. Not *you* must be, but a Scout is, and you strive to be that.

    If you are in a position to look past (or quietly ignore) the LDS aspect of BSA national, there is much to be positive about.

  50. 50
    RaflW says:

    The Scouts just demonstrate how difficult it is to straddle this issue. You are either a fair-minded person/organization or you aren’t. Being gay-OK to 18 and not after? Absurd.
    Good for this honorable young man to help Scouting figure that out.

  51. 51
    balconesfault says:

    @kindness: Any troop only doing one or two campouts is not a very good troop.

    My troop (I was a Scoutmaster for a few years) used to camp out each month during the school year, plus do 1-week summer camp, and sometimes an additional high adventure trip, each summer.

  52. 52
    jonas says:

    @Jay C: a secular, non-discriminatory movement reflecting the entirely of society

    But this would force them to acknowedge that America is not, in fact, a “Christian Nation” these days (not that it ever really was) and this hurts their fee-fees.

  53. 53
    The Dangerman says:

    In my BSA experiences, I can’t recall a single leader that didn’t have a son in the troop. It worked well (and, in today’s world of adoption or surrogacy, does not exclude Gays).

    Frankly, wanting to immediately transfer from scout to scout leader (i.e., at 18) is a little creepy. Yes, by age measure, you are an adult at 18 … but, really, you need some life experiences to do it right.

  54. 54
    Fuzzy says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Nothing rushed past my head The Boy Scouts leadership is behind the times, not me. I live in San Francisco so maybe your corner of the world is just catching up to the fact that the Scout are more entrenched in their than the GOP.

  55. 55
    Cacti says:

    @kindness:

    I was a Boy Scout. I made it to Star Scout (one under Eagle) before I decided the troop I was in was geeky. We only went on one (two max one year) camp outs a year and I liked that more than anything else the Scouts gave me. My parents weren’t happy but understood where I was coming from.

    Being raised Mormon, my participation in Boy Scouts was more or less compulsory. Like you, I enjoyed the camping, but thought the rest was pretty lame. While my parents required my participation, I made a point of not advancing. I ended my BSA career as a Second Class (two ranks from the bottom).

  56. 56
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @cane giallo: Calling Montgy County liberal is an insult to liberalism.

    Stick with “Dem majority” and you’ll be fine.

  57. 57
    Fuzzy says:

    @slippytoad: You sir are a self centered asshole. I live and enjoy the most liberal area in the U.S. This is very old news in San Francisco. If you lived out here you would realize that this is very old and boring news but not to your part of the planet.

  58. 58
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Fuzzy: Well, that was a truly thoughtful, erudite, and insightful comment. I will be considering “more entrenched in their than the GOP” for days to come. Thanks.

  59. 59
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Fuzzy: We can’t all aspire to be the hometown of Starfleet Academy, space cadet! Now beam over here and say that again!!

  60. 60
    aimai says:

    @raven: So are you saying that a kid coming out of college with a BA, having spent his time there preparing for a pro football career, isn’t doing anything courageous by potentially destroying his chances at that pro football career? I know kids coming onto the market with BAs from much more prestigious schools, with fellowships and scholarships based on their academic standing–hell people coming out with Ph.D’s who are in a more secure position than this kid and they are still coming out on a market which doesn’t have jobs. Yes, compared to a lot of people this kid has done something special because he doesn’t have much to fall back on if football doesn’t pan out.

  61. 61
    Patricia Kayden says:

    But didn’t y’all hear that the gays are persecuting us straights. You need to listen to Limbaugh, people!

  62. 62
    Cckids says:

    @The Dangerman: he wouldn’t be a Scoutmaster or leading the troop, he’d just be registered as an adult in Scouting. (they’re all called “adult leaders). It would allow him to still be somewhat involved; teach merit badges, etc. For most it is a symbolic thing, obviously for him it is a cause. As it should be.

  63. 63
    Paul in KY says:

    @DaveinMaine: I went to a couple of the Royal Ranger things when I was a kid (accompanying some friends who attended Assembly of God church), and it was pretty lame.

  64. 64
    The Dangerman says:

    @Cckids:

    It would allow him to still be somewhat involved; teach merit badges, etc.

    I’m not sure the distinction between a “leader” and a “teacher”…

    …but my comment, based solely on personal experience, still applies; at 18, you should really take a break from scouting and go out in the world and grow up (at 18, I wasn’t close to grown up).

  65. 65
    Cervantes says:

    @Fuzzy:

    I hope his quest is fulfilled but I’m getting a little worn out by the constant media attention to every “coming out”. It is so commonplace that I am tired of hearing about it on every single media source. Quit making a big PC deal of old news and let me, as a straight man just get on with my life not have to be confronted for being part of the 95% who are heterosexual.

    “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.”

  66. 66
    Persia says:

    @aimai: I think Raven is just trying to give the kid credit where he’s due. I think sometimes the liberal narrative is ‘oh, man, this kid has NOTHING’ when the fact is that the kid has shown enormous persistence and grit and I think has pretty decent chances of landing on his feet even if he doesn’t get picked up in the NFL. That’s not trying to talk down the significance of what he’s done.

    @Cckids: I assume it also makes it easier for him to lead his own troop if he has kids someday?

  67. 67
    Paul in KY says:

    @Persia: If Mr. Sams does not get ‘picked up’ then something is rotten in Denmark. He was the SEC Defensive Player of the Year, for a 12 – 2 team & plays defensive end, a position where talent is coveted most covetously.

    He should go in 1st 12 or so picks I would think.

  68. 68
    shortstop says:

    @The Dangerman: Boy Scout adult leaders are generally 21 and older, but 18-20-year-olds are accepted for assistant AL positions. Obviously the BSA thinks there’s a leadership place for 18-year-olds.

  69. 69
    JR in WV says:

    @Scott S.:

    Exactly! We donate to Planned Parenthood every month, automatically. It becomes nearly painless after a little while, so we have the ability to help political campaigns we feel need our help as well.

  70. 70
    Corner Stone says:

    @Paul in KY:

    He should go in 1st 12 or so picks I would think.

    No way. He should go before the end of the 4th round at worst, depending on who gets picked ahead of him.
    He might go end of 2nd or top half of 3rd but that is the absolute best case for him, regardless of other factors.
    Unless he wows at the combine.

  71. 71
    Joe Buck says:

    Wake me up when they lift the ban on atheists and agnostics.

  72. 72
    Shoes says:

    @Paul in KY:

    CBS sports had Sam ranked as the #9 DE prospect at the time of his announcement. (They now have him ranked as #11). The 3rd round was his starting projection, so it’s reasonable to gauge his reception from there.

  73. 73
    Paul in KY says:

    @Shoes: OK, will defer to people who have been studying draft more than I. Will say that last 6 or 7 SEC Defensive Players of Year went in 1st round.

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