After closing his eyes and taking a deep breath, Boy Scout camp leader Derek Nance softly said to himself, "Here we go," introduced himself and said the three hardest words any gay person can say to anyone: "I am gay."
Nance has been a part of the San Diego-based Mataguay Scout Ranch for ten years where he's worked from being an outdoor skills instructor to the camp's program director. Although he's been openly gay with his family and friends "in real life," Nance describes his love for his job and his close relationships with his co-workers, yet can't share his sexuality with them due to the Boy Scouts of America's anti-gay policy. Nance cited Tim Griffin, a former Eagle Scout who was fired from his job last August because he's gay, as one of the reasons he had to come out.
In the video, which was released yesterday, Nance says:
"The only way we will change the Boy Scouts' discriminatory policies is if those of us who are on the front lines representing them to thousands of scouts every single summer start engaging in some open dialogue on this issue. Lawsuits by the ACLU or confidential reviews by the Boy Scouts are not going to change policies. The first step to coming to an agreement on this issue is to drop the old pretenses and stereotypes and to start actually talking."
The 102-year-old organization reaffirmed its policy of excluding gays last July, where Deron Smith, the BSA's national spokesman, said that the exclusionary decision was "absolutely the best policy."