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“Scout’s Honor” Premieres Tonight

A new PBS documentary examines the rapid growth of “Scouting for All,” an organization founded by a then 12-year-old boy that welcomes gay and straight members alike, in the context of the recent Supreme Court decision to allow the Boy Scouts of America to ban homosexuals and the nationwide controversy the decision generated. “Scout’s Honor” airs at 10pm EST on PBS’s P.O.V. series and outlines the grassroots campaign led by Steven Cozza, who identifies himself as heterosexual but views the values of boy scouting as incompatible with discriminating based on sexual orientation. The campaign started three years ago with petitioning for a change in the policy in his hometown and led to the formation of “Scouting for All.”

The documentary airs at a time when public school systems nationwide continue to overlook the use of anti-gay slurs that often lead to school violence, despite the increasing public outrage over acts of violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people (LGBT). Beginning as early as the elementary school years, the word “gay” is popularly used by students to describe something in a negative way-creating an extremely hostile environment for LGBT youth in the public school system. According to the Human Rights Watch, two million United States teenagers experienced severe problems in school because they were taunted with anti-gay slurs.

Sources:

Washington Post - June 18, 2001 and Human Rights Watch - May 2001 and www.pbs.org