Bridgeport, Ohio mother of four Jennifer Tyrrell was recently ousted as her son’s den leader because she is a lesbian. Tyrrell had led the Tiger Scout troop for over a year when she was told that she “did not meet the high standards of membership that the [Boy Scouts of America] seeks.” Bob Drury, scout executive for the Ohio River Valley division that Tyrrell’s membership was revoked from supported the decision, stating “We do not grant membership to individuals who are opened or avowed homosexuals.”
According to WTOV Channel 9, it was confirmed that Tyrrell’s discharge was solely due to her sexual orientation, and not in any way related to her performance of her volunteer duties or interactions with the scouts. In fact, many of her former troop members and their parents participated in a peaceful protest of her release. One parent told WTOV “It was never an issue because we judge people by their actions and she’s done a really good job with the kids, a lot better than the leaders in the past, and it has nothing to do with her sexuality at all.”
This isn’t the first time the Boy Scouts have removed a troop leader due to their sexual orientation. According to GLAAD, they recently ousted another lesbian scout leader in Potomac Falls, Virginia.
Tyrrell posted a statement on change.org, writing “It is time for the Boy Scouts of America to reconsider its policy of exclusivity against gay youth and leaders.” As of early on April 19, her petition had garnered over 4,500 signatures. Jennifer’s partner, Alicia Burns also commented, adding “Together, we CAN be heard, and it is now our hope to shape the future with not only the 12 Core Values of Scouting, but with acceptance as well. Thank you all for your support.”
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