Maryland teenager Pascal Tessier has made Boy Scout history by being the first openly gay teenager to achieve Eagle Scout. He accepted the badge Monday night and is the first documented gay Eagle Scout since the Boy Scouts of America lifted their ban on gay members last May.
The acceptance is bittersweet for Tessier. “It’s kind of a backhanded acceptance: ‘We accept you for now.’ It says to you, you’re a monster of some sort.” He is referring to the fact that though the Boy Scouts allow gay members, they do not allow gay adult leaders.
The Boy Scouts’ policy on adult members reads “…we do not grant membership to individuals who are open or avowed homosexuals or who engage in behavior that would become a distraction to the mission of the BSA,” Tessier nearly didn’t get his chance to earn Eagle Scout at all as he was involved in a public protest that could have resulted in the Boy Scouts expelling him. In the meantime, there is hopeful speculation that this event will help to show the Boy Scouts that a person’s sexual preference has no bearing on their ability to be community leaders.