Be prepared


Sodomites (no date) by Robert Sherer.

The Boy Scouts of America yet again proved itself a retrograde organisation by deciding this week after a two-year review to maintain its policy of exclusion for gay scouts and gay scout leaders. The Girl Scouts of America don’t have this kind of policy, nor do UK Scouting organisations. In honour, then, of the Boy Scouts of America’s decision here’s some work by a trio of North American artists all of whom have used scouting iconography for subversive or satirical purposes. Robert Sherer and Jason Driskill are both American while Daryl Vocat is Canadian. Vocat’s portfolio of prints is particularly funny, showing scouts tattooing each other and making bombs; William Burroughs would love it. Poor old Chuck Norris, meanwhile, would no doubt collapse with a fit of the vapours at the sight of Sherer’s scouts holding hands.


Prints from A Boy’s Will (no date) by Daryl Vocat.


Judging (2004) by Jason Driskill.

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3 thoughts on “Be prepared”

  1. I was never a scout myself but both my daughters are in Scouts here in Australia. As far as Oz is concerned here’s a good interview

    quoting from it :

    Bronwyn Adcock asked Dion Ellis, Executive Director of the Scouting Association in Victoria to explain the Australian Scouting Movement’s position on homosexuality.

    DION ELLIS: Well there’s no specific issue with gay people. We, perhaps I’ll put it that we do not use sexual orientation as a barrier to being a scout leader or in fact involved as a youth member.

    BRONWYN ADCOCK: So you have no problem with a gay person being a scout leader or even in the scouts.

    DION ELLIS: Not per se, no. Our criteria is that good leaders are good leaders and we look at a person’s character and their behaviour around children and assess them on that basis.

    BRONWYN ADCOCK: Could someone be openly gay and be in the scouts or would they have to hide it?

    DION ELLIS: It’s difficult to be . I’d need to know more about what ‘openly gay’ means to give a really good answer. But if the question means would we be concerned if it was known that a person was gay, and if we were talking about a leader here – no, not necessarily.

    If ‘openly gay’ means, for example, more or less advertising their sexuality in a way that we think is inappropriate around children then yes we would be concerned, but it wouldn’t be because they’re gay it would be because of the display of sexual behaviour around children we would, or may, consider inappropriate.

    That same criteria would be used to assess the behaviour of any leader though, heterosexual or homosexual.

    which seems a pretty sensible attitude to the situation to me.

  2. I was a Cub Scout for a couple of years until I got bored with it all.

    One reason the American organisation differs from other countries is the simple fact of their taking a religious attitude as their guide; they’ve said as much in earlier debates. So it’s the usual US thing with narrow-minded Christians discriminating for no good reason. I’m sure the Girl Scouts of America are run by equally religious people but they manage to do that without being discriminatory.

  3. The Boy Scouts, unlike the Girl Scouts or international Scouting groups, derive considerable support from religious organizations that take a dim view of homosexuality, especially the Mormon and Roman Catholic churches. Less than 2% of the U.S. population is Mormon, but 15% of Scouts are. The Boy Scouts of America could lose hundreds of thousands of Scouts if it opened its doors to atheists and gay people.

    From the LA Times.

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