Ousted lesbian den leader delivers petitions to Boy Scouts headquarters

Ousted lesbian den leader Jennifer Tyrrell delivers petitions calling for an end to the Boy Scouts’ gay ban at the group’s headquarters in Irving on Wednesday morning. (Anna Waugh/Dallas Voice)


DAVID TAFFET  |  Staff Writer

Standing in front of the National Boy Scout Museum on Wednesday morning, ousted Cub Scout leader Jennifer Tyrrell said the Boy Scouts’ policy of exclusion is “hurting children and hurting families.”

Tyrrell was in Irving to deliver a Change.org petition with 300,000 signatures to the Boy Scouts of America.

After she received the phone call removing her from her position with the Scouts, “she sat around and cried for a few days,” according to Tyrrell’s partner Alicia Burns, who was also on hand Wednesday morning at BSA headquarters.

Anti-gay pastor Joey Faust demonstrated with two followers shouting about fornication while Tyrrell spoke to the media along with Mark Anthony Dingbaum of Change.org and Allison Palmer, vice president of campaigns and programs for GLAAD.

“Why can’t you tolerate the Boy Scouts decision?” Faust shouted. “The gays brought us AIDS …”

Palmer said GLAAD’s job is to tell stories about real people and that Tyrrell’s story resonates.

“Something comes across so clearly about her wanting to be a great parent,” Palmer said.

She called Tyrrell’s case an example of the consequences of policies like this hurting children.

Dingbaum said Change.org hosts 15,000 new petitions a month.

“Our job is to empower the petition starters,” he said.

And some of those petitions take off like this one and receive local as well as celebrity and other national support. Of the many new petitions started each month, only a few receive the national coverage that this one did.

After speaking to media, Tyrrell, Dingbaum and Burns carried boxes containing the signatures into the museum building.

Tyrrell, Burns and their two youngest children met with Boy Scouts representative Deron Smith for about 10 minutes. Tyrell wore her Scouting uniform with the right sleeve signed by George Takei. She and Takei rode in the New York Pride parade together.

When she emerged later, Tyrrell called the meeting cordial. She said she’d asked for proof of a meeting that Boy Scouts officials claim occurred after two years of study about the gay ban. The Boy Scouts announced the study this week, just two weeks after telling Dallas Voice that the policy wasn’t under review. The announcement coincided with their decision to meet with Tyrrell.

“I expect the Boy Scouts to stand behind their arcane policy until it changes, and we’ll be here until it changes,” Tyrrell said.

She said the petition remains open. In the past 24 hours, 2,000 signatures have been added. And she said she’d be back at Boy Scout headquarters to deliver more signatures as the petition grows.

More photos and video below.

—  David Taffet

Tyrrell: How do you tell a 7-year-old we can’t be part of the Scouts?

Jennifer Tyrrell

“How do you tell a seven-year-old we can’t be in the Scouts?” Jennifer Tyrrell asked.

The ousted Cub Scout mom talked about her experiences with the Scouts from her Downtown Dallas hotel room on Tuesday evening. She is in Dallas to present a Change.org petition with 314,000 signatures to the Boy Scouts on Wednesday.

The Boy Scouts confirmed on Tuesday afternoon that someone will meet with her on Wednesday. She is planning a 10 a.m. press conference outside the Irving headquarters of the Scouts before presenting the petition and meeting with the Boy Scouts representative.

While Tyrrell knows the Scouts won’t change their policy anytime soon, she’s convinced the policy will change. But her message is for other parents involved in Scouting.

“Imagine being told you can’t be involved in part of your child’s life,” she said.

Two of her four children traveled to Dallas with her. After being swarmed by reporters at Love Field, she joked that they deserve their Media Badge.

And to take up their time since they were ousted from the Scouts, Tyrrell assures that they’ve been busy playing softball, fishing and playing with celebrities.

—  David Taffet

A day before ousted lesbian mom visits Dallas, Boy Scouts reaffirm gay ban

Jennifer Tyrrell

The Boy Scouts announced Tuesday it will stick with its ban on gay Scouts and leaders, claiming that the announcement follows a two-year study.

The announcement, coincidentally, takes place days after Dallas Voice’s cover story about the discriminatory policy and a day after ousted Scout leader Jennifer Tyrrell announced a visit to the group’s headquarters in Irving on Wednesday.

According to the Associated Press, “An 11-member special committee, formed discreetly by top Scout leaders in 2010, ‘came to the conclusion that this policy is absolutely the best policy for the Boy Scouts.’”

In a statement, Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin called the Boy Scouts’ decision to reaffirm the policy “a missed opportunity of colossal proportions.”

“With the country moving toward inclusion, the leaders of the Boy Scouts of America have instead sent a message to young people that only some of them are valued,” Griffin said. ‘These adults could have taught the next generation of leaders the value of respect, yet they’ve chosen to teach division and intolerance.”

NGLTF Deputy executive Director Darlene Nipper said she was deeply disappointed and that discrimination is never the right policy.

“Clinging to a policy of exclusion and intolerance is hardly a good lesson for our young people,” Nipper said. “Once again, officials of the Boy Scouts of America have turned their backs on a chance to demonstrate fairness, exercise sound judgment, and serve as a role model for valuing others, free of bias and prejudice.”

Tyrrell is coming to Dallas with a representative from Change.org and plans to deliver a petition with 300,000 signatures that calls for an end to the ban on gays in the Scouts. Tyrrell and Change.org’s Mark Anthony Dingbaum will be at Boy Scouts headquarters on Walnut Hill Lane in Irving on Wednesday at 10 a.m. to deliver the petition.

They also hope to meet with AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson to present a petition urging him to be proactive in making a change within the Boy Scouts. Stephenson is in line to become president of the Boy Scouts in 2014.

The AP story claims that Stephenson “will likely face continued pressure from gay-rights groups to try to end the exclusion policy.” But within AT&T, Stephenson’s policies have been for inclusion and equality. Last year, he instituted a review of all policies to make sure LGBT employees in the various segments of the company that have come together through merger have benefits equal to straight employees.

The BSA has shown how serious it is about adhering to its policy.

On Sunday, Eagle Scout Eric Jones, 19, was kicked out of the Scouts after he came out to the director of the summer camp in Missouri. He was immediately removed from the camp.

Deron Smith, a spokesman for the Boy Scouts, didn’t return calls seeking comment Tuesday morning.

The Boys Scouts full statement reaffirming the group’s ban on gays is after the jump.

—  David Taffet

Ousted Boy Scout mom Jennifer Tyrrell to deliver petition to Irving headquarters Wednesday

Jennifer Tyrrell and her son Cruz

Following our cover story last Friday about the Boy Scouts, ousted Cub Scout den leader Jennifer Tyrrell, GLAAD and Change.org have decided it’s time to deliver a petition with 300,000 signatures to Boy Scouts headquarters in Irving.

Tyrrell will be in Irving on Wednesday to deliver the petition asking for her reinstatement. She is expected to be at Boy Scout headquarters at 10 a.m., according to a press release from Change.org.

Tyrrell said that she was encouraged by other parents to become troop leader with “tolerance, acceptance and support.” Only after she became treasurer of the pack and found accounting inconsistencies was she removed because of her sexual orientation. GLAAD spokesman Rich Ferraro said Tyrrell’s story has caught the media’s attention and he called her “America’s favorite mom.”

After the jump, watch video of Tyrrell speaking at the GLAAD Media Awards and read the full text of the Change.org petition containing Tyrrell’s story. Sign the petition by going here.

—  David Taffet