Morally Straight: How LGBTQ+ Inclusion Changed the Boy Scouts


Morally Straight LGBTQ+ Boy Scouts of America InclusionWeaving in his own experience as a scout and journalist, Mike De Socio’s Morally Straight: How the Fight for LGBTQ+ Inclusion Changed the Boy Scouts ― and America (Pegasus Books, 2024) is a deeply-reported narrative that illuminates the decades-long battle for LGBTQ+ inclusion in the Boy Scouts of America (BSA).

De Socio – a resident of Troy, NY – tells a story that plays out over the course of nearly forty years, beginning in an era when gay rights were little more than a cultural sideshow; when same-sex marriage was not even on the radar; and when much of the country was recommitting to conservative social mores.

It was during this time that accidental activists emerged, challenging one of America’s most iconic institutions in a struggle that De Socio argues changed the country’s view of gay people and the rights they held in society.

In Morally Straight (the name comes from the Scout Oath), we meet James Dale, the poster child of Scouting who took his fight for inclusion to the Supreme Court; Steven Cozza, the 12-year-old scout in California who started a movement for inclusion called Scouting for All; Jennifer Tyrrell, the lesbian den mother whose expulsion from the Scouts reignited the gay membership controversy; Zach Wahls, the son of lesbian moms who led the final push for policy change; and an array of other previously unknown Scouters who played smaller roles in the fight for full inclusion.

De Socio recently appeared on the Troy Story podcast to discuss his book. His discusses BSA’s policy of discrimination against gay people, key figures involved with ending the gay membership policy, and how the U.S. Supreme Court shaped the fight over LGBTQ participation in Scouting.

(In a further step toward opening the Boy Scouts to a wider audience, the group recently renamed itself Scouting America.)

You can listen to the podcast here.

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