Garrett Bryant is a 19-year-old gay Boy Scout who had hoped to secure a summer job as a leader with the organization. The Arizona Boy Scout says he had done his best to comply with the organization’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy regarding sexuality, but believes social media was responsible for revealing this part of his private life.
Almost inevitably, and regardless of sexual orientation, once a person updates his or her Facebook status to reflect being in a relationship, the questions start coming at a rapid-fire pace. Once Bryant updated his status to reflect no longer being single, his case was no exception. In the middle of all the congratulatory comments was at least one query that asked “What’s his name?” The question seemed innocent enough, but the gay Boy Scout believes he was ultimately deemed ineligible for the summer job after Boy Scout representatives read the string of comments.
Although no details were published other than that the gay Boy Scout was in a relationship, some of Bryant’s Facebook friends were also Boy Scout participants who previously did not know about their fellow member’s sexual orientation. In a panic, Bryant tried to keep the fact that he was gay under wraps by quickly deleting any revealing comments that were associated with his changed relationship status, but that effort appears to have been useless. He was told one week later that the summer job was no longer open to him.
After the disappointed Boy Scout called representatives to find out why he suddenly didn’t have a summer job prospect, he was told “homosexuality” was the reason behind the decision. This would have been the second year in a row that Bryant worked at Camp Geronimo, a Boy Scout operation that’s near Phoenix. After the full weight of the decision hit him, the Boy Scout told the New York Daily News that he felt “extreme sadness” that was “pretty intense.” He had been attending the camp since age 11 and said, “It’s like you’re a part of a family and you’re being disowned from it” when he was interviewed for a story published by NBC News.
This year, the Boy Scouts of America began allowing openly gay teenagers to participate in some programs, but don’t extend that same right to adults. Therefore, the accidentally-outed Boy Scout is considered a youth for some of the organization’s programs, but not all of them. In the end, that was enough to make officials in charge decide it was not appropriate for him to have a role as a Boy Scout leader.
This situation with the gay Boy Scout is especially unfortunate since every effort was being made to not go public about his sexuality. Hopefully there will soon be a day where every gay Boy Scout will be able to publicly disclose his sexuality if desired, and not have to live in fear of the possible consequences.