A relationship status update on Facebook has caused 19-year-old Garrett Bryant, a member of the Boy Scouts, to lose out on a summer job. According to the New York Daily News on Tuesday, Bryant said he was told by the organization that he was turned down for the job because of his sexuality.
The leadership position in Arizona was a job Bryant was looking forward to, but was quickly disappointed when he failed to abide by the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy for gay members. The policy was enforced this year after the organization lifted a ban on gay teens. Bryant told the Daily News that he did his best to follow the policy, but he couldn’t control others outing him on the social media outlet.
“I did the best I could to follow BSAs ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy for gay members. But I couldn’t control other people outing me, even if by accident. Following the rules as being an Eagle Scout apparently weren’t enough for me to stay on camp staff.”
Bryant believes Boy Scouts officials found out about his sexuality after he updated his status on Facebook to say he was in a relationship. He didn’t reveal with whom, but in a congratulatory comment, a friend asked, “what’s his name?” After recognizing the comment, Bryant deleted it but it may have been too late as he thinks either the officials saw the post or were notified of it. He was later told by BSA sources that the reason he was turned down was because of “homosexuality.”
Although Bryant realizes his mistake, he is speaking out because he wasn’t the one who made an issue of his sexuality and was content keeping it private because of his love of Scouting. He told NBC News, “I viewed my sexuality as something I was going to keep private. It was my private life. I wasn’t going to share it with the BSA.”
The teenager, who has been involved with the Scouts since he was 11 years old, experienced sadness and felt like he lost a family as a result of the rejection. Because of BSA’s policy, which currently bans gay adults, Bryant may also face more problems when he turns 21, a reason his mother, Kat Bryant, says they went public. They want BSA to also lift their ban on gay adults.
BSA officials have denied to comment on Bryant’s case, but Brad Hankins of Scouts for Equality explained the inconsistency of the policy noting that a heterosexual Scout can live their personal lives “without worry of anyone finding out about their girlfriend, but a gay Scout like Garrett Bryant has to take measures to assure their private lives are kept hidden.
“Under the BSA’s new policy a gay Scout must be constantly aware and careful to not out themselves or they risk being kicked out when they turn 18. Despite trying to hide being gay, he was still denied a leadership position because he was outed by a third party. For all the years of leadership training he went through, it’s a shame his talents aren’t being put to use by the organization that instilled those values in him.”
Now Bryant is taking those same values he obtained by his many years of Scouting, and using them as tools in a greater challenge. He was willing to keep his sexuality hidden to stay involved with the organization, but now his focus is on opening Scouting to gay adults.