January 1, 2016

We reported back in February of this year how history was made when Pascal Tessier--son of proud PFLAG mom and PFLAG Metro DC board member Tracie Felker--became the first openly gay scout to achieve the rank of Eagle Scout, the highest within the scouting organization. 

Becoming an Eagle Scout was a major moment for Tessier.

“It was important for me to become an Eagle Scout because I believe in the values that Scouting upholds: being helpful, trustworthy, loyal, kind, brave, reverent,” he said. “It is Scouting’s highest honor and would be the culmination of over 10 years in Scouting.  I was also inspired to be an Eagle Scout because my older brother, Lucien (who is also gay), is an Eagle.”

Up until January 1st of this year, openly gay teens were banned from the Boy Scouts. At that time, that policy was changed, although the ban on gay scout leaders remained in place. 

That policy hasn’t changed. And sadly, that means that Tessier, who last week turned 18, has now been forced to leave the scouts. 

This policy banning openly gay scout leaders infuriates many, including PFLAG member Felker, who complained about the policy to the Los Angeles Times earlier this year, saying, “On August 4th, [Pascal’s] an Eagle Scout and has the highest honor. August 5th, all of a sudden, he’s no longer good enough to be a Boy Scout?”

Now Tessier himself has penned an open letter to the head of the BSA, Robert Gates; the letter has been published in Time Magazine and online.

In it, Messier says, 

Mr. Gates, only you have the power and experience to bring an end to the unwarranted, unjust and un-Scout like ban on gay adults. Every day that you do nothing, more boys and parents struggle with their place in Scouting, in their communities and in their families.

Not long ago, Mr. Gates, you were instrumental in the repeal of the military’s ban on gay service members, telling the U.S. Senate in February 2010 that, “The question before us is not whether the military prepares to make this change [to allow gay service members], but how we best prepare for it.”

Openly gay adults will eventually be allowed in Scouting, Mr. Gates. As support for equality continues to grow, Americans will soon demand it. The question before you, then, is not whether the ban should end, but how many more young people like me will be a victim of your failed leadership if you do nothing.

Visit Time.com and read the entire letter from PFLAG son Messier. Keep up the good fight, Pascal; PFLAG has your back!

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