Meet the old, meet the new

This photograph appeared in today’s New York Times. It’s of Allison Mackery and her five sons.

Four of the Mackery boys are enrolled in Scouts. Because of the organization’s decision to allow gay members, Mrs. Mackery—pride of Hanover, Pa.—will likely have her children quit.

Look at the picture. Look at it again. It could have been taken yesterday, it could have been taken 50 years ago. It’s the classic American photograph—house, bushes, everyone perfectly straight. The image very much reminds me of similar ones from yesterday, when families stood up against school desegregation, thereby beginning the private Christian school craze that overtook much of the south. Kids were used as props; were pushed forward; were asked their opinions even as their opinions were being formed by the ignorant minds surrounding them.

It’s happening again.

I don’t know the Mackery family, but it’s a lock that, one day, some (if not all) of the boys will come to regret this photo, and what it stood for. Maybe one of the kids will be gay. Maybe they’ll have gay friends, gay co-workers, gay bosses. Whatever the case, they will come to know gay Americans, and they will come to see it is, plainly, no big deal.

They will regret this picture.

I guarantee it.

1 thought on “Meet the old, meet the new”

  1. Limiting the change to scouts, and not leaders, is toothless. I left scouts when I was 10 & like most 10 year olds, whatever sexual orientation I had was theoretical and would not be practiced for far too many years to come.

    Adults actually have a sexual orientation. Maintaining a ban on gay adults suggests the organization continues to believe that gay men are pedophiles. That’s still a deal breaker. That said, they’re a private organization and can do what they please. The first thing that comes to most peoples mind when they hear “Girl Scouts” is “cookies”. The first thing that comes to most people’s minds when they hear “Boy Scouts” is “Homophobia”. It doesn’t need to be that way but that was their choice & they’re sticking to it.

    I’ve always felt that hyper masculine institutions (the Scouts, Church, Military) seem to have the most trouble coming around on gay tolerance because these testosterone-fueled institutions have always been disproportionately gay. That contradiction breeds conflict and a bit of self-loathing. (But I’m not a Scout or Soldier, just Catholic, and you know…paying attention).

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