LGBTQ

In ‘Morally Straight,’ Mike De Socio Chronicles the Boy Scouts’ LGBTQ Reckoning

A professional journalist and queer Scout himself, the author’s book debut takes a narrative approach to a key moment in LGBTQ U.S. history.

Nick Wolny
Financialicious
Published in
12 min readJun 5, 2024

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Image c/o Cottonbro Studio on Pexels

The Boy Scouts of America — which changed its organization name to “Scouting America” in May 2024 — has had a long history of LGBTQ+ discrimination. A new book aims to capture the political turmoil through both compelling stories and rigorous journalism.

Scouting was one of America’s most popular youth programs for decades, and had over 2 million participants between the ages of 5 and 21 in 2018, down from 3.4 million in 1999. The COVID-19 pandemic devastated enrollment numbers, though they are once again on the rise.

Beginning in the 1970s, pressure campaigns led the BSA to establish overt anti-LGBTQ+ sentiments in its policies, including a directive that scouts aspire to be “morally straight.”

Here’s the BSA in 1991:

“We believe that homosexual conduct is inconsistent with the requirement in the Scout Oath that a Scout be morally straight and in the Scout Law that a Scout be clean in word and deed, and that homosexuals do not provide a…

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Nick Wolny
Financialicious

🏳️‍🌈 Gay dude. Mg. editor, CNET; finance columnist, Out magazine. Sign up for Financialicious, a newsletter some call “the gay Morning Brew,” @ nickwolny.com.