Gay Teen Speaks Out On Boy Scouts’ Decision to Not Rehire Him
A gay teen from Arizona is calling foul after the Boy Scouts of America officials won’t hire him this summer after he worked at the organization’s summer camp last year, NBC News reports.
Garrett Bryant, 19, says he came out as gay on Facebook recently and even though he intended to keep his sexuality private, the BSA won’t hire him back at the group’s Camp Geronimo, about 90 miles northeast of Phoenix, because of the organization’s policy that bars gay adults.
Bryant said he thought the post would be vague enough so he would not to get into trouble: After meeting his first boyfriend, the teen simply changed his status to "in a relationship," but a number of friends, who are not members of the BSA, left several congratulatory comments.
One comment read: "Oh, good for you,, man, what’s his name?"
Bryant panicked and deleted the comments but was concerned that his BSA friends, who did not know he was gay, saw the posts, which could impact his chances of being rehired at the summer camp.
A week after the post, Bryant, who claims he was poised to be rehired for the second summer in a row, said his fears came true when a camp leader told him he could no longer work at the site because of his Facebook posting references homosexuality.
Bryant is upset over the decision as he’s been with the organization since the third grade.
"I viewed my sexuality as something i was going to keep private," he said told NBC News. "It was my private life. I wasn’t going to share it with the BSA. They made an issue of my sexuality. I was perfectly content with staying in the closet with the Scouts."
It’s like you’re a part of a family, and you’re being disowned from it," he added.
BSA officials did not comment on the incident, but Larry Abbot, the local BSA council’s top professional official, told NBC news that they did not send Bryant a letter of employment this year "so everything else is conjecture on this."
Abbot would not say much else, but when asked about the teen’s Facebook post and if it had anything to do with Bryant not being rehired, he said, "I’m not going to get into the employment practices. That’s not appropriate for us to do."
"The way we look at it, we want to be a safe haven for kids and that’s where we’re at," Abbot continued. "And we don’t want sex of any type in camp, either heterosexual or homosexual or anything."
When asked how Bryant could lose his job if the BSA did not know he was gay, Abbott said: "Going to the media sounds like he did that kind of deal."
The incident comes shortly after the BSA fired its first openly gay troop leader earlier this month.
It was reported that Geoff McGrath, a 49-year-old software engineer and Eagle Scout, who headed Troop 98 in Rainier Beach, Wash., was fired by the BSA after he "deliberately injected" his sexuality into scouting. Despite being booted by the organization, McGrath still continued to lead the troop and officials from the church where the group congregated, supported him.
Rainer Beach United Methodist Church’s support, however, led the BSA to revoke its charter agreement with the church, meaning it could no longer host troops under the Boy Scouts name.