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Tales from the Water Cooler: Scouting for boys (not in a gay way)

The Boy Scouts of America are doing away with a ban on openly gay members

Not being a wanderer on the big homosexual highway, my opinion may not be of much consequence in the following matter. And while this may not be the first time I have professed expertise on a subject about which I know little, you can surely take comfort in the fact that at least I’m not Richard Littlejohn.

This week’s announcement that the Boy Scouts of America is to do away with a ban on openly gay boys is an odd one, simply because the age range at which the organisation pitches itself is seven to 18 years old. How many kids of seven or eight are openly gay? If memory serves, at seven I wasn’t particularly interested in my own doo-dah, never mind anyone else’s.

I know that a great deal of parents, on hearing that their child is gay, say: “Ooh, I always knew!”, but surely most people’s sexuality only becomes clear at puberty? According to Stonewall, the average age for a bloke to come out is around 17. Yes, it was a different time, but in my high school year there were some 200 people and only one guy came out in the six years I was there. I don’t remember it triggering any hate crimes – as opposed to those perpetrated on me for speaking properly (well, for the south side of Glasgow) and getting the odd A.

Sadly, the US Boy Scouts still insists its troop leaders be straight, although it’s a standpoint that will probably have to change. Until it does, I urge any gay American wannabe Scout leaders to mosey on over to our neck of the woods. We like ’em gay, straight or bi. As long as you can tie a nice knot,  sew on a badge and rock a silky neckerchief, you’re in.