DETROIT, MI – A young woman who was fired from a Michigan Boy Scout camp for being a lesbian has launched a new petition on Change.org urging her local Boy Scout council to vote to end the Boy Scouts of America’s (BSA) ban on gay youth and adult leaders at its National Council meeting this May.
Lauren Jasenak, a 19-year-old outdoor enthusiast and seasoned Boy Scout camp employee from Brighton, Michigan, was fired from the D-bar-A Boy Scout Ranch last summer, the day after the BSA reaffirmed its policy banning gay youth and adult leaders. Jasenak says she was called into the camp director’s office and forced to sign a letter stating she was a lesbian. She was then forced to leave immediately, despite not having a car and being two hours away from home.
“As a 19-year-old, I am still in disbelief that the Boy Scouts discriminated against me. I didn’t even realize you could be kicked out of the Boy Scouts for being gay,” writes Jasenak on her petition on Change.org. “I felt alone and scared, but most importantly, I had no idea how my rabbit, Thumper, and I were going to get home.”
After the Boy Scouts recently announced that they would be reconsidering their anti-gay policy, Jasenak started a Change.org petition urging the Boy Scout council running the camp to vote to end discrimination in Scouting.
“This policy goes against the Scouting values of honesty, kindness, respect, and courage. I know many other Scouts, and even other Scout leaders who identify as gay, and I’m outraged that they must hide who they are to stay in Scouting under this policy,” added Jasenak. “No one deserves to be treated like I was.”
On her petition, Jasenak says she was raised in a Scouting family and has been involved with the Scouts for most of her life. When she turned 14, she joined the Boy Scouts Venturing program, which welcomes women and men, because she particularly enjoyed high-adventure activities. Shortly after, she started working for Boy Scout camps in Michigan, and up until last July, had loved every minute of it.
New signatures on Lauren Jasenak’s petition are sent via email to D-bar-A Boy Scout Ranch director Bill Licht and Great Lakes Council Scout Executive Richard Fisher. Licht and Fisher have yet to respond to Jasenak’s firing or her petition on Change.org, which has been signed by more than 3,700 people.
“Lauren isn’t the first Boy Scout camp employee to launch a petition on Change.org after being ousted from the Boy Scouts, but she’s certainly hoping to be the last,” said Mark Anthony Dingbaum, senior campaign manager at Change.org. “By reading the comments on Lauren’s petition, it’s clear that she has Scouts, Scout leaders, and fellow camp employees backing her up. But will her local Boy Scout council support her, too?”
One hundred petitions, acquiring more than 1.7 million signatures, have been launched by Scouts, Scout leaders, and Scouting families on Change.org, urging local Boy Scout councils across the country to help end the ban on gay youth and parents. Many of these petition campaigns have been supported by Scouts for Equality and GLAAD, two of the leading organizations working to end Boy Scouts of America’s anti-gay policy.