LGBT Youth News: Boy Scouts Updates, Inclusive Schools, and More

Recent LGBT-youth-related stories from around the web:

Boy Scout Memorial in Washington, D.C.
The Boy Scout Memorial in Washington, D.C.

The Boy Scouts and the Gay Ban:

• Mother Jones has published an article about a new controversy over how best to interpret the results of a survey that the Boy Scouts of America sent to members, parents and scout leaders last year. The survey was sent before the organization revealed that it was considering a change to its national policy of excluding gays. And while the survey did not ask specifically about the gay ban, it did include an open-ended question asking respondents to explain what sort of factors they considered in deciding whether to recommend the Scouts to other people. Mother Jones reports that about 5,500 survey respondents, representing eight percent of the total, “volunteered that the gay ban negatively affected their ‘customer loyalty’ to the Boy Scouts.” In contrast, only a few hundred respondents volunteered “explicit support for the gay ban.” Zach Wahls, who co-founded Scouts for Equality, argues that “[t]he biggest takeaway from the survey is that there is a ton of energy in the scouting community for changing the policy.”

• The Salt Lake Tribune reports that Winger’s Roadhouse Grill, Utah Sports Lodge and Madeline’s Steakhouse have offered to support a Boy Scouts event in Utah; the three companies will “fill a void” left by Chipotle Mexican Grill, which recently rescinded its sponsorship of the event because of the Scouts’ ban on gay members and leaders. Winger’s hopes to please everyone: In addition to supporting the Scouting event, the company will donate to Utah Pride Center’s Queer Prom.

Unisex Bathroom SignLGBT-Inclusive Schools:

• A high school in Oregon has received some press attention for making six of its restrooms sex-neutral to accommodate transgender students and staff. While transgender students and advocates have welcomed the change, some caution that unisex bathrooms are not ideal for all students and should not be mandatory for transgender students.

• StateImpact reports on an LGBT-inclusive charter school, the Arts and College Preparatory Academy, in Columbus, Ohio. About a third of the school’s students are LGBT, according to the report.

Will Portman on Coming Out:

• Will Portman, the son of Ohio Republican Senator Rob Portman, has penned an opinion piece in the Yale Daily News about his experience coming out of the closet. Senator Portman recently announced his support for marriage equality, attributing his change in position to his son’s coming out.

LGBT News from the United Kingdom:

• Stop Hate UK has written to Attorney General Dominic Grieve, asking him to review what the organization calls an “unduly lenient sentence” imposed on Jordan Sheard, who killed a gay, disabled teenager. A judge gave Sheard a “custodial sentence” of three and one half years.

• A candle-lit vigil is being held today in memory of transgender primary school teacher Lucy Meadows, who died of an apparent suicide last week. The vigil is being held at the Daily Mail’s Kensington offices; more than 22,000 people have signed a petition calling on the newspaper to fire a columnist who disparaged Meadows in an opinion piece published last year.