"Ex-Gay Group NARTH Encourages Boy Scouts To Continue Anti-Gay Discrimination"
The ex-gay “professional” organization NARTH has published a new document highlighting its beliefs about homosexuality as a recommendation to the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) to continue its policy of not permitting gay Scouts. NARTH asserts the following false conclusions:
- A person’s environment can contribute to their sexual orientation. Research suggests this isn’t really true after someone’s born.
- Children experiencing “sexual confusion” can be harmed if encouraged to identify as gay. This is only true for people like NARTH members who believe homosexuality itself is harmful.
- Engaging in homosexual behaviors carries a “significant risk for serious health consequences.” These are largely caused by anti-gay stigma, not homosexuality itself.
- Gay young people are more sexually active than their peers. This is a distortion of data showing that young people’s first sexual experience is with a person of the same sex, not evidence about young people who actually identify as gay.
- Sexual abuse causes homosexuality. This is patently false.
Based on all these assumptions, NARTH warns that allowing gay Scouts would be a threat to other Scouts’ protection:
The most critical question to answer regarding this proposed policy change, however, is: How will child protection be assured? If openly homosexual boys are allowed to participate, how does a Scoutmaster monitor the influence or actions that these boys may have upon others in the troop especially during overnight events? Will equal but segregated facilities be required? This certainly would be the case if the BSA were to alter its policy and admit girls.
As the BSA deliberates a potential change in its membership policy, NARTH encourages the council members to carefully consider the complexities of sexual orientation development reflected in the aforementioned research. Council members must strive to envision the short-term and long-term consequences of any potential decision.
Ex-gay therapists like NARTH represents prey on young people who “struggle with same-sex attractions,” a struggle influenced by a disapproving family or community. Allowing gay Scouts to participate fully in the BSA would both compromise the stigma that they rely on to bring them clients and further disprove many of the claims they make to substantiate their shame-based treatment.