Dear Boy Scouts of America:
Earlier today, while approaching a Ralph’s supermarket in Irvine, California, I came across one of your troop members selling popcorn as a fundraiser for your organization. He looked like a nice kid—scruffy brown hair, big cheeks, a tad awkward.
My first response—internally—was, “No friggin’ way am I buying anything that supports the Scouts.” You are, after all, an organization that continues to treat gay men as if they were sinful lepers; your organization still maintains an outdated, homophobic policy that does not allow openly gay men to be Scoutmasters.
But then I looked at the kid and felt something. It was a hot day. He was busting his tail. Most folks passed as if he didn’t exist. So I plunked down $10 for an overpriced bag of caramel corn, smiled, wished him luck and walked off.
You know why? Empathy. I empathized with his plight.
As an organization, I strongly suggest you work on empathy, too. There are gay men in this country who love the Scouts; who were raised as Scouts; who don’t understand why they’re no longer allowed to participate. Surely, you can understand their pain. Surely, you can empathize with their plights.
I bought the caramel corn.
You can empathize and change.