Eric Jones has been a Boy Scout since he was just nine years old. But this weekend, everything changed when the 19-year-old decided to come out to his scout leaders on Sunday and was promptly stripped of his Eagle Scout honors and asked to leave the organization.
This came after the Missouri State University student had been named as director of the camp in his native St. Joseph, Missouri. “Everything in the scout oath, everything is standing up for what’s right,” Jones told the local press. “Scouting was an outlet for me. An activity. Something I love and I was passionate about.”
But once the teen came out, leaders of the local chapter of the Boy Scouts of America asked him to leave and renounce everything he’s work for during the past decade. They said it was because of the scout’s policy not allowing gay scouts and leaders to serve in the organization – a decision that was recently upheld by the group after a two-year discussion about whether to amend the more than 100-year-old policy.
His story will be featured in an upcoming documentary by Ryan James Yezak – Second Class Citizens – an encompassing look at anti-gay discrimination in America. He’s asking that people like Jones reach out to him if they, too, have been discriminated against over sexual orientation. Click to here to find out how you could be featured in the documentary.
“This is having an effect on our youth,” says Jones, who admits didn’t expect he would be asked to leave the organization after so many years. “You are seeing it. If anything, have some kind of compassion for them. Imagine if this was your child or a neighbor, a close friend going through this.”
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