By ZOLA ROSS-GRAY, age 11
Zach Wahls is the founder of Scouts for Equality, an organization that has been fighting since June 2012 to end the Boy Scouts of America’s ban on gay scouts and leaders. As a proud Eagle Scout and son of two loving moms, Zach is passionate about getting the word out about this important issue.
Zola Ross-Gray: Is there anyone else you know who feels as strongly as you do about the BSA ban?
Zach Wahls: There are people all over the country who care about this issue even more strongly than I do. It’s my job as the leader of the campaign to make sure that those people are supported by my organization and are able to do the work needed to end the ban on gay youth and parents.
ZRG: How many scouts and leaders do you think are impacted by the ban?
ZW: Regardless of whether or not a Scout is gay or straight, the ban has a huge effect on every single Scout. Teaching Scouts that discrimination is okay, and that’s what the ban does, sends a harmful message to all youth, gay and straight, and has no place in Scouting.
ZRG: How do your mothers feel about your activism?
ZW: My mothers are both proud of the work that my team and I are doing and are glad to know that if we’re successful, families like ours, with two moms or two dads, won’t have to worry about this ban any more. And that’s something that’s long overdue.
ZRG: What can kids do to help support this cause?
ZW: If you support LGBT rights, there has never been a better time to join the Scouting program. In order to end the ban on gay members, we have to show the Boy Scouts that there are millions of Americans ready to support them the moment they end their ban on gay youth and parents. I think that knowing there are young people who want to be Scouts but don’t want to exclude their gay friends and neighbors sends a powerful message to Scouting leadership.