The Standard Journal recently posted an article about gay men being allowed to serve as leaders in the Boy Scouts of America program.
From my perspective, there are several things wrong with this article and at the heart of it all is Williams’ solution to preventing sexual abuse in the BSA program.
As Ruth and I discussed the matter she asked rhetorically, “Why would any wise leader even put themselves into a situation where they could be tempted to act out in any way with a young person?” We might just as well ask, “Why would WE place any adult in a situation that could be tempting for them?”
First of all, I don’t know where Williams’ grew up, but I had many P.E. teachers and coaches who were men. And he would be interested to know that statistically speaking the large majority of P.E. teachers in the United States are men. Not women.
Assuming all men who are gay are going to molest boys in their care is simply untrue. And if we assume all gay men will sexually assault boys in their care, we would be forced to assume all straight men will sexually assault girls in their care.
If we’re going with this assumption that gay men shouldn’t be leaders in the BSA, which they absolutely should be, we can assume you would want to protect all youth in other situations.
You can easily argue that straight men should not teach Sunday school in the LDS church, be school teachers or professors, guard women in prison or work as security guards because they will be exposed to women and girls who they could sexually assault.
But as we all know, sexual assault is unisexual. Removing people who could possibly commit sexual assaults from tempting situations would ensure we cannot allow anyone to be in charge of children. Male or female.
Williams’ solution to sexual abuse in the BSA program isn’t an actual solution to the problem.
At its core, it’s perpetuating discriminating a group of people who are simply asked to be treated equally.
In the end, Williams’ solution doesn’t seem as much as about stopping sexual assault as it does about stopping gay people from being equal members of society.
Because if he really was concerned about sexual assault in the BSA, he would be telling us we need to be more selective about the people who are leaders in the BSA; regardless of sexual orientation.