August 4 2014

My name is Justin Wilson, and I'm one of the volunteer directors of Scouts for Equality, a group of Scouting alumni in the United States that's fighting for inclusion of LGBT people in the Boy Scouts of America (BSA). I'm quite excited to be featured in your newsletter, and greatly humbled by the level of interest FLAGS has shown for our cause. 

Scouts for Equality started in June of 2012, in the midst of a renewed national discussion on LGBT rights. At this point in time, marriage equality was just beginning to spread throughout the United States, and the timing was right to begin a new campaign for equality within the BSA. 

When we started, the BSA prohibited LGBT people from all aspects of the program, to include youth members, adult leaders, employees, and other adult volunteers. After several months of high-profile media campaigns on this issue, and our collection of over 2 million signatures in support of equality, the BSA announced that they would vote on whether to allow LGBT youth members at their annual meeting in May of 2013. We won that vote, and now press forward with the goal of achieving equality within Scouting for all people - youth and adults. Along the way, we've experienced some setbacks. For example, after announcing that LGBT youth are now welcome in Scouting, the BSA took a step back by indicating that some older LGBT youth (18-20 years old) may not be allowed to participate beginning in 2015. However, we've also experienced some great successes. For example, we've seen an incredible surge in grassroots volunteers with the introduction of our local chapter program earlier this year. Through this program, volunteers are able to start local organizations that work to advance the SFE mission of equality within their hometowns and states. In a six month period, we've started over 40 new chapters. We hope that in the near future we'll have chapters in all 50 states within the US.

The goal of Scouts for Equality is quite simple: to achieve full equality for all LGBT people in Scouting within the next three to five years. 

Now, you might be asking yourself, "But how can I help? I'm thousands of kilometers away and in a different country!" While that may be true, you have something incredibly valuable that we do not - adults and youths of all ages and backgrounds that are able to serve openly in Scouting regardless of their sexual orientation or religious beliefs. The BSA has yet to move forward with equality because people are scared. They have grown so accustomed to the current state of the BSA that they can't even imagine how a change like this might impact the program. We need your help in showing them that the only impact of LGBT inclusion is a positive one! So please...share your stories with FLAGS or with us directly by emailing Even if you don't think your story is very exceptional, trust me - any story about an LGBT youth or adult that's happily participating in The Scout Association is extraordinary to us in the United States! 

Thanks again for your continued support. We are strong supporters of Scouting, and sincerely believe that the BSA will soon recognize that discrimination is unacceptable in any form. I cannot wait for the day when the BSA joins The Scout Association in welcoming participants and leaders from all backgrounds. 

Yours in Inclusive Scouting,

Why I support inclusive Scouting - Lexi Lynn

... because some where out there right now there is a great leader, an adult whether it be a parent, a life time scout as an eagle scout, or just someone that wants to make a difference in the life's of our youth that wants to be that change for them. 


There is a youth child right now out there from the age of a bob cat rank to having made eagle scout age, that wants and needs to be apart of something bigger than themselves. 


That gives them pride, and hope, and has nothing to do with there gender identity or sexual orientation. 


Having inclusive scouting isn't about anything other than all youths and adults making a better community, and allowing all that want to participate to be able to with out fear of being discriminated against.


We can make a difference in a youths life, by paring them with a great scout leader and take them out of there home environment and allow them to experience all that scouting has to offer, and it doesn't matter whether the adult leader is LGBT or the youth member is LGBT. 


No where in scouting does it teach about these things of gender or sexuality, other than the discriminating policies that are in place. 

Pascal Tessier - NO LONGER WELCOME


One of the BSA's first openly gay Eagle Scouts, Pascal Tessier, just turned 18, and is no longer eligible to participate in the program. On his birthday, he wrote a letter to the BSA's president, Robert Gates.


read more.....


Dates and Events

...up and coming Pride events

Gilwell Reunion - get this date in your diary 5-7th September, again it promises to be a packed weekend of resource and FUN!!!, along with a great chance of being able to catch up with some old friends - AND Bear Grylls will be dropping in on the weekend - don't miss out go and book your space as soon as possible - Sarah is working on the event and pulling more information together, so soon you will have an email from her with more information and you will be able to confirm your attendance with FLAGS

AND - we will be launching our NEW unit badge at Reunion, all attending members will receive theirs on camp!!!!!

Camp Abercorn
check out a ground breaking, web based series of films


I'm writing to you as a young adult American Eagle Scout who's unwelcome in the BSA because of my sexual orientation.


There are many smart people working for change. Grassroots movements like Scouts for Equality and their allies have and are still working hard over here and I commend them.


Boycotts and activism can go far to change policy, but no amount of lecturing can change people. What can change people are stories. What can change hearts and minds are stories.


read more and check out the short film of introduction from Jeffrey Simon

Amazing News!!!

So you can tell that this times FLAGS+ is very American, and I make now apologies for that, over the last few weeks we have had some great chats with some of our brother Scouts over the pond...

The Management Team of FLAGS fully supports Scouts of Equality, and their mission to get fully inclusive Scouting in the USA, and on the table at BSA - for real conversations.

There is a Scouts for Equality page now on our website - bringing you news from overseas, some great contributions from American Scouts, as we already have done in this newsletter.

We look forward to building our relationships, learning from each other and sharing experiences.

I am currently exploring with Justin, how FLAGS can associate with Scouts for Equality as a UK based Chapter..... more news soon!!!

Thank you, to for your contribution in todays newsletter guys :-)

rob :-)
Rob Vaines  
Media Development Manager
FLAGS Active Support Unit
077 300 59 187
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