Britain’s 500,000-member-strong Scout Association is actively welcoming gay recruits and leaders, intent on refuting the belief that the organisation is homophobic.
The movement has published a document titled ‘It’s OK to be gay and a Scout!’ while the association’s head, Wayne Bulpitt, appeared in a video against homophobic bullying in the Scouts.
In another development, Scout members have also been allowed to take part in Pride events in uniform.
“There was an assumption that being gay meant you couldn’t be part of the movement. That was never the case and we are keen to make it clear that we accept people of any particular orientation,” said spokesperson Simon Carter.
“We have had youth members and adults attend (gay] Pride events and plan to do so again this year. It shows that we are not just talking about it but are demonstrating our support publicly.”
The association will be making leaflets available to members that will advise them on coming out and being accepting of gay recruits.
The moves are in stark contrast to the Boy Scouts of America which has fought numerous successful court battles to retain its ban on gay members and leaders.