This is Me

I know there are plenty of people out there in the world who just love musicals – as I do. I love old and new. Every now and then one comes along with a message that seems to speak to one particular group of individuals and I strongly feel that the movie musical The Greatest Showman (Dec. 20th) does just that. It takes inspiration from the life of P. T. Barnum, one of the early pioneers of circuses in the 1800s. In reality, Barnum began his journey as a circus owner, late in life, probably fifties or sixties, but he did reach out to people who looked different from “normal” society: the midget, the bearded lady, the Siamese twins, and gave them a real place in the world. Today, I have found most of the soundtrack released on YouTube by Atlantic Records. If you’re a musical buff, the songs were written by Paul & Pasek of La La Land fame and, in fact, were working on the songs for this film before La La Land.

One of the songs that’s stuck out to me is one that is typically played during the first trailer that was released, This is Me. It is performed by Keala Settle who plays the Bearded Lady. These are some of the lyrics to that beautiful song that speak to me:

When the sharpest words wanna cut me down
I’m gonna send a flood, gonna drown them out
I am brave, I am proof
I am who I’m meant to be, this is me
Look out ’cause here I come
And I’m marching on to the beat I drum
I’m not scared to be seen
I make no apologies, this is me

BSA to Accept Trans Boys

This is huge news for any of you who have read news in the past on here about Boy Scouts of America’s past stance on the rights of lgbt youth. The Scouts may have initially gained their largest support from churches across the country, but it has never been a religious organization. They are not required to meet in a church building, but generally do so for convenience. I was a Brownie as a child and we met in the cafeteria my elementary school. When I was promoted to a Girl Scout, yes, we met in a local church, but no one had to belong to the church in order to attend. There are other places troops can meet and if Christian members don’t like the inclusion, there are other organizations for them to join or start on their own, full of all of the exclusion they like.

The Boy Scouts of America said on Monday the group would begin accepting transgender boys, bucking its more than a century-old practice of using the gender stated on a birth certificate to determine eligibility.

“Starting today, we will accept and register youth in the Cub and Boy Scout programs based on the gender identity indicated on the application,” Boy Scouts of America communications director Effie Delimarkos said in an emailed statement.

Full Story

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Gay-Friendly Scouting Organization Doubles Membership

All the focus as of late has been on the Boy Scouts of America. I don’t know where the Girl Scouts of America stand, but I’m sure it has standards similar to BSA. Although it saddens me to know that if I had children, they would be excluded from either of these organisations, especially since I was both a Brownie and Girl Scout as a child, then later served briefly as a Scout Leader in my brother’s troop, I don’t feel the need to make a huge deal out of it. If the BSA and presumably the GSA want to foster exclusion, fine. Why do they have to be the sole organizations to teach our children the skills so famously touted by either organization? Why can’t new organizations be started which don’t exclude children or their parents for any reason? Thankfully there is such an organization: Navigators USA. They are small in number as yet, but all organizations start small. None has ever blasted onto the scene with a million members over night. Things take time to grow and thankfully Navigators USA is doing just that.

The Boy Scouts of America, which discriminates against gay Scouts, atheists, and families who want to put their sons and daughters in the same scouting program, has seen its membership plummet in the last decade. Many former Scouts have left scouting altogether. But a number of families fed up with BSA policies have found Navigators USA—a small organization that “welcomes all people…no matter what gender, race, lifestyle, ability, religious or lack of religious belief” and has seen its chapters (comparable to Boy Scout troops) double in the last year.

“We knew the Boy Scouts excluded gays when we started, but we thought that was one of the old, outdated rules on its way off the books,” says Bryan Freed, whose family switched from the Boy Scouts to a Navigators chapter in Los Altos, California, after the Boy Scouts publicly reaffirmed their ban on gay Scouts and Scoutmasters in July 2012. “We told our 8-year-old son, Nathan, what we thought of the official BSA rule on excluding gays, and we let him decide.”

And for any in doubt about what the Navigators can teach your son, here’s their ‘Navigators Moral Compass’:

As a Navigator I promise to do my best
to create a world free of prejudice and ignorance.
To treat people of every race, creed, lifestyle and ability with dignity and respect.
To strengthen my body and improve my mind to reach my full potential.
To protect our planet and preserve our freedom.

Full article available from Mother Jones