Jennifer Tyrrell, a Boy Scouts den leader who was removed from the notoriously homophobic organization for being gay, has launched a petition to get reinstated (and to call out the group's vehement anti-gay practices). Details follow.
After giving one year of service, Jennifer Tyrrell was immediately removed from her post as a Tiger Cub den leader the moment the Boy Scouts of America learned she was gay and in a loving relationship. Unwilling to back down, Jennifer has launched a Change.org petition asking to be reinstated with the organization.
Writes Jennifer in the petition:
Shortly after registering my son for Cub Scouts, I was asked to assume the role of den leader and was persuaded by a platform of tolerance, acceptance and support. Throughout the year, my cubs performed volunteer service at a local soup kitchen, collected canned goods for area churches to distribute in food baskets, participated in bell-ringing for the Salvation Army, and, at the time of my removal, were working on a conservation project for a state park. My Tiger Cubs earned multiple Scout badges for service and skills, while learning and exercising the 12 Core Values of Scouting: citizenship, compassion, cooperation, courage, faith, health & fitness, honesty, perseverance, positive attitude, resourcefulness, respect, and responsibility.
The revocation of my membership came shortly after I was elected treasurer of my pack and uncovered some inconsistencies in the pack's finances. Within a week of reporting these findings to the council, I received notice that my membership had been revoked, based on my sexual orientation, citing that because I'm gay, I did "not meet the high standards of membership that the BSA seeks."
There was an outcry of support for me by the parents of my Tiger Scouts, many of whom waited for hours to voice their concerns to members of the council and the pack's charter organization, but were turned away without the opportunity to do so.
In a comment posted to Change.org, Jennifer's partner Alicia writes:
I would like to start by saying I am Jennifer's partner, and as parents it has been our hope to shield our four children from this kind of bigotry and hatred. For that reason, we were hesitant to join BSA. We have been open about our family from the very beginning and were delighted to find an atmosphere of acceptance in our local chapter. It is our understanding that the very person who told us they would "stand hand-in-hand to defend (us) against intolerance" was the person who called for Jennifer's removal in light of a scandal. While I'm hurt and saddened that my family and our fellow scouting families have been faced with this discrimination, I'm offended that Jennifer's sexuality has been exploited to mask deeper problems within the organization. The silver lining of this senseless situation is that it has given us the opportunity to affect change. Together, we CAN be heard, and it is now our hope to shape the future with not only the 12 Core Values of Scouting, but with acceptance as well. Thank you all for your support.
The petition has already received more than 15,000 of it's 25,000 signature goal. Sign it here.