My name is Tim Griffin. I have worked at camp Winton for 9 years. I have been openly gay since 2009 and it has never been a problem until the reaffirmation of the BSA anti-gay policy last Tuesday, and I was fired two days after that. Ten of about 30 of my fellow staff members quit their jobs in solidarity and walked out with me.

EDIT 1: Proof: also

and a picture of myself and the staff members that quit 2 weeks before camp ends (before I shaved my head)

EDIT 2: I am an eagle scout

EDIT 3: 2:57 pst still taking your questions! Thank you for all the support, keep it coming

EDIT 4: Alright folx, I am all tuckered out. i've been out it for almost 10 hours Thanks for all the words of encouragement, this was really successful and I truly feel like people listened and spread the word. look out for a possible online petition out soon and thanks again! peace out trout

Comments: 1932 • Responses: 39  • Date: 

[deleted]835 karma


Blanket_Forts744 karma

Andy! It's cool to hear from you. I'm considering legal action but I'm more concerned with getting the policy changed and i'm not sure the justice system is on my side about this one.

parkvader98536 karma

I am a member of troop 12 and I had been going to Winton for four years, and each and every time, Tim was always our troops favorite counselor, I seems to me that it is no coincidence , as is supposedly was, I support the other counselor's decisions to leave, and i dearly hope that you find a new job. Thank you Tim, for the years of joy you have brought our troop.

Blanket_Forts393 karma

AWESOME! Troop 12 was always one of my favorites too! you guys rock! thanks for rebuilding that bridge :)

irapedmspacman369 karma

I tip my hat to you sir, and the rest of you. respect.

Blanket_Forts266 karma

Thanks a lot the amount of support I am getting is really shocking

LunetteNoire158 karma

It shouldn't be. What happened was unjust and very unlike what I learned as a girl scout growing up. A good group of my friend have earned their Eagle standing and their Gold Awards very recently, and I even helped them on their projects. If that was to be lost over something as ridiculous as sexual orientation, I'd be lost. Though, all four of them are the type who would have been among those who returned their badges.

I really hope things start to change for the better. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

Blanket_Forts62 karma

thanks a lot!

docandersonn121 karma

Hey Tim, we had a similar thing happen at Yawgoog Scout Reservation in 1999. It ended with Narragansett Council coming out for inclusion of gay scouts and the firing of the council exec and reservation director. I hope you guys can create change.

-Former staffman, Camp Three Point, Yawgoog Scout Reservation.

Blanket_Forts67 karma

wow! is there any more information on that story? i would love to know more

tommytweeter63 karma

I worked at a boyscout camp for part of a summer, but quit when they fired my friend and only black staff member for being "intimidating". I stayed in scouting and got my eagle, but I never went back to that camp.

We had a new scout and their family visiting one day and the father asked my scoutmaster if 'he was willing to kick out a boy if he seemed to be homosexual', My scoutmaster told him that 'being a scout is about following the scout law and oath' he went on to tell him that there was no bigotry in our troop and that we were a boy run troop, so although it wasn't up to him "our senior patrol leaders are better than that".

It made me extremely proud to be a member of our troop.

Blanket_Forts39 karma

That makes me really proud, what a great troop. That is very true, a scout is about following the scout oath and law, it has never been more simple than that

turnawayjimmy168 karma

Have they tried to get in touch with you to try and say sorry and take you back?

Blanket_Forts327 karma

Not at all. I was kicked out abruptly. I feel by doing news reports etc that I have really drawn a line in the sand and will not be welcome back until the council repeals it's anti-gay policy, which is what we are working towards. Every staff member at the camp Winton still supports me, but the Golden Empire Council and upper scouting executives do not

[deleted]75 karma


Blanket_Forts257 karma

The nail polish thing was a goofy camp tradition. The thing with camp is that things are really quirky and the staff members are really enthusiastic and off the wall. It creates an environment that lets the kids break out of their shells. I had started wearing nail polish when started teaching the painting merit badge 4 years ago. It became provocative when we were threatened that our paychecks would be withheld if we had nail polish. once that happened, lots of other staff members decided to wear nail polish in solidarity.

wizardbrigade196 karma

As a former summer camp staff member (although a YMCA camp, not a BSA camp), I can confirm this. Staff do all sorts of quirky things to create a fun, out-of-the-box environment that promotes unique self-expression for the kids. We often did staff theme days like Crazy Hair Day, Nerd Day, Pajama Day just because kids think that shit is great. We also all painted our fingernails and toenails festive, male staff included, with each nail a different color. It never was a problem.

Blanket_Forts99 karma

woah! cool to know that this happens at other camps

[deleted]18 karma


Blanket_Forts28 karma

I was concerned, the core of the staff walked out with me, over 52 years of experience with them. I am really proud of those who stayed and from what I can tell they are holding the fort together and stepping up. there are only 3 staff members there now with prior experience and it is really taking all they have to fill in the gaps.

flannelmelons138 karma

I worked at a Boy Scout camp for the last few summers, and two of my coworkers there were gay. It was never an issue, because they didn't talk about it much. Those two men were absolutely the most enthusiastic and hardworking counselors at camp, not because they were gay, but because they are genuinely great people. You seem to be a great guy too, and I think as the Boy Scouts realize how many of their best counselors and scouts and scouters are gay, they'll reconsider.

Blanket_Forts140 karma

I AGREE! Council also needs to consider that there are also queer people in council, and throughout all aspects of scouting. Queer people are in every walk of life and to exlude them is to exlude your brothers and sisters. The people who are making these decisions do not have the boy youth of America's best interests

redneckvtek7 karma

Might not be the correct place to ask, but I am unaware of the definition of "Queer" in this context. Can someone please explain?

Blanket_Forts25 karma

i use the term queer to talk about my sexual identity. Gay doesn't always quite work for me since i do have partners that are transsexual or don't use the masculine pronouns. To be queer is to reject gender bipolarity and it is a much more encompassing term for me.

RealityIsMyReligion93 karma

I read about you the other day!

Are you more disappointed that you no longer get to work with the scouts, or honored to have been at the center of such a large demonstration against the BSA's homophobic policies?

Blanket_Forts127 karma

That is the duality of a lot of peoples choices. When I was fired a lot more staff members wanted to walk out with me and I told them to stay for the scouts and that the show must go on. We were all conflicted with leaving or staying because everything we do is for the scouts. I'm definitively honored and the amount of support I'm getting is overwhelming but In the end I wish I still had my job back and the scouts that are still coming up this summer could have an amazing experience.

wacow4561 karma

As a closet athiest Eagle Scout, do you have any advice for me (and the rest of us, there's tons of us out there)? I absolutely despise the organization itself, but my troop and especially my scout masters have been such a great influence on me that I couldn't imagine quitting.

Blanket_Forts54 karma

I've met more gay/atheist eagle scouts than I ever thought possible. What is bringing me through all of this is the solidarity I am getting from my peer scouters. What would work is to organize everyone, since there is so many, and start some sort of campaign to get your local council to change the anti-gay policy. A few council around the nation have already decided they aren't for the policy but that's only because people in the area spoke up! stay strong!

JTNVinh55 karma

What was your most memorable camping experience?

Blanket_Forts151 karma

One of my most memorable moments was around the campfire with a troop last year. We were telling scary stories and making smores and whatnot when a giant buck approached us. He had HUGE antlers and was just checking us out. we all sat in stunned silence, he was beautiful and sat with us for almost half an hour, he leaned down and ate some grass occasionally. Eventually a clonky scoutmaster came out and he ran off. One of the most beautiful moments at camp for me

nmgoh251 karma

Ok, I have to make some attempt to defend the Boy Scouts just a little bit here. Please don't down-vote unless you can actually prove me wrong, as I know my information is dated.

The BSA leadership is actually not as anti-gay as advertised. However, their hands are tied on the issue by the Mormon Church. Currently, all good little Mormon boys join the Boy Scouts, as it is a respectable organization that teaches boys how to become men. If you put aside the homosexual bans, the BSA is still an excellent organization, and the issue of sexuality should never really come up in normal operation.

However, the BSA is a non-profit organization that lives on donations by parents and alumni. Since the BSA is the 'official' youth group of the Mormon faith, all good parents and churches donate heavily to their local troops, district offices, and the national organization. By official I mean that the the LDS church pays all required dues for every REGISTERED boy scout (regardless of actual participation) [Source]. Also, since the BSA leaves such an impression on it's members throughout their lives, the donations from the Mormon (and ex-Mormon) population cannot be negated either.

How much does this add up to? Approximately 30% of the BSA's annual revenue comes from Mormon sources, yet only 12% of all members are Mormon.

Furthermore, I have met high-level BSA district officials who've told me that the LDS church has a BSA replacement on the books ready to go overnight. If the BSA promotes any policies that they're not OK with, they regularly threaten to pull all support for the BSA and move everyone over into this new program.

The Mormon faith has the the BSA by the balls. If they follow through with their threats, the BSA will crumble overnight. All the good they do will disappear. While it sucks for guys here like Andy, most everyone active in the scouts are either Parents (mostly not gay, cuz you know, they're parents) or young enough to still think girls are icky.

My arguments here also only include the Mormon church, but a policy flip would also send a ripple throughout the entire organization. After Mormons the Catholic church is the #2 population in the BSA, and their acceptance is a 50/50 flip on an Archidocese level depending on how conservative the local archbishop is. However, the Pope himself has told American Bishops that they shouldn't be discriminating on particular sins, which means that if they're banning Homosexuals, they've got to ban those that Masturbate, don't go to church on Sunday, and have unconfessed sins. As for the evangelicals, it's a huge coin toss on an individual-congregation level, as most faiths are only held together by a much less infallible governing body.

However, even if you convince the entire religious community (Christian, Muslim & Jew too) that it's OK to be Gay, you still have a PR problem with parents who think that a gay scout leader is going to rape their children every chance he gets. It's ignorant, shameful, and stupid, but it's a fact of life. The best we can hope for here is a reversion to a "No Policy" policy. That way, dissenting churches can have a no-homos-allowed troop, and other groups can start their own open troops. Since it's relatively easy to start a troop, it should balance out wherever it needs to.

In conclusion, if you want the BSA to openly accept homosexuals, then DONATE. Better yet, donate to a separate fund or foundation that can continue to grow until we can out-bid the Mormon church. If anyone knows of one that already exists, I've got a $500 check for them myself.

TL;DR: The BSA has to be anti-homosexuals because of Mormons & ignorant Parents. This policy can change, (and BSA execs want to change it) but we can only make this happen by offering a carrot of support, not the stick of boycott.

More Sources:

LDS BSA Partnership site

BSA's "Mormon Problem" article from before

BSA is run by Mormons

BSA is 12% Mormon

Blanket_Forts13 karma

What i felt like i went through is that there was a small percentage of ignorant people and religious motivations that were controlling the entirety of our behaviors at camp winton and throughout scouting as a whole, I felt that was wrong and I wanted more decision making by the people are truly upholding the values at troop levels. thank you for doing all this research you make a very good point

perpetual_hangover48 karma

not very relevant, but what is your favourite knot? mine's the Alpine Butterfly.

Blanket_Forts55 karma

Italian bowline, hands down ;)

HighSalinity48 karma

Are you still on good terms with everyone at the camp? More specifically, the supervisors at the camp? Was this just some faceless order from the up aboves, or someone lower on the totem pole take the initiative? Will you pursue some sort of legal action?

Finally, two things I wanted to say. my girlfriend, 18, is a camp counselor at one of the summer camps in the area. One of the boys, 6, has a crush on her and the angry parent pulled her aside and tried telling her that he has half a mind to call the cops on her. Her supervisors told the guy to leave and they haven't had a problem since. As ridiculous as that seems, I see your situation in the same magnitude of "what the fuck is this?"

Finally, as an eagle scout myself know that you have my support in understanding how much work it takes to get to this level. You'll continue to push onward.

Blanket_Forts60 karma

Cool, thank you for your support. the entire camp has my support and they are all excitedly following the story. The decision to fire me came from Jim Martin, scouting executive. which is way above the management of camp winton. in fact a large part of management in camp walked out with me and are even doing interviews and things with me.

RandyMarshCT11 karma

I'm also an Eagle Scout and I support you 100%! Is there any type of community being formed to solidify Eagle Scouts to help you guys in your cause? Mass emailing or anything like that? I want to help support you guys, but I think returning my Eagle award is not the proper or effective way to do this. I think standing together and refusing to tolerate bigotry as Eagle Scouts is more effective. Keep your head up, there are so many of us standing with you!

Blanket_Forts17 karma

right now my goal is to get the GEC to repeal the anti-gay policy. MASS EMAIL GO!

FelicisWitch2743 karma

I just want to say that you and all those who walked out with you are awesome. It's disgusting that we still have this amount of discrimination, especially in an organization that's supposed to be teaching children how to act.

I worked at a Girl Scout camp for several years (and went there as a camper for about 10 years before that) , and I would say that probably about a quarter of our counselors were lesbians, including several of our administration staff. I can't even fathom them being kicked out for their sexual orientation.

Anyway, keep fighting the good fight!

Blanket_Forts20 karma

Thank you so much! thats a cool story, people dont realize that queers are in every part of our lives.

livmaj37 karma

Would you go back if they asked you to? Would an apology affect your decision?

Blanket_Forts89 karma

I would love to go back that place is my home and the people are family to me. Coincidentally I also love an apology. I have given 9 years to that camp and they dropped me like I was a c.i.t.

WolfHaleyGolfWang34 karma

There was a south park episode that was similar to this. Were the camp kids scared because you were gay? Did they know?

Blanket_Forts69 karma

kids never knew. Some scoutmaster could pick up on it and the entire staff knew, including the Camp Director who claims he did not know

anon-na31 karma

As someone who's been through Boy Scouts and is a son of a high ranking BSA Executive, I completely agree with your choice and actions. I'm truly sorry to see you forced out of something most people love. My sincere apologies for the way the BSA has stuck to their old world ethics. You would think such a big, world renowned boys club would have to be open to everyone's beliefs, but alas, It's a conservative club for mostly conservative-driven individuals (some parents and most BSA officials) .

It doesn't help things when parents see no line between gay individuals and child molesters. It's rather quite sickening to me.

I remember thinking while I was still a member that it was strange that we can accept so many different nationalities and beliefs into Boy Scouts, have separate religious ceremonies at some world events to cater to most main-stream beliefs, but not the gay community. I mean, if sex is what we're trying to protect the children from in Boy Scouts, why are there co-ed Venture crews? The amount of ignorance is astounding.

EDIT: I would have been right by your side.

Blanket_Forts19 karma

taking just 5 minutes to think about all the hypocrisy of not allowing gays in is a big headache. Thank you for your support

Certifried30 karma

When I was growing up, I thoroughly enjoyed scouting. It was an amazing experience. Years later, my mom sent me an email asking if anything "odd" had ever happened. I never saw anything remotely inappropriate, but she sent me this news article:

Yep, my former scout master. I thank GOD (or whatever higher authority is or isn't present) that he didn't put his hands on me, but feel horrible for those he did molest. Oh, but 'gays' are the ones destroying our children... riiiight. Massive amounts of respect from this straight (and slightly conservative) former scout. Thank you for all you've done and for standing up to such unfairness and hatred.

Blanket_Forts36 karma

Thats so crazy, Its unfortunate that people correlate being gay to being a child molester. The sad reality is that people are looking out for gay people when they could actually be looking for real signs of a child molester

LandofRy30 karma

Do you hold anything against the scouts organization as a whole, or do you just oppose whoever is trying to keep it an anti- gay organization?

Also, I give you a lot of credit for making a stand against this policy. Best of luck to you!

Blanket_Forts50 karma

As a person who grew up in scouting, it is an amazing program that gives you so many tools for growing up and a lot of opportunities for leadership. It is a program that I believe in and have faith that it can be changed from the inside. I hope to get my council to change the policy at a local level, which will hopefully be a catalyst for other councils across the nation to also change their policies

MrFatalistic25 karma

You know before we had all the anti-bsa posts here on reddit I really did think "that's insane, I know there's gay scouts/leadership in the BSA, it's not an actively enforced policy" but this really does make me seriously consider writing my own letter.

Blanket_Forts30 karma

Please do! kids in your community are growing up in this system, if the policy changes it could do so much for local communities

BongoMadness25 karma

Why work at a scout camp knowing this result was a possibility?

Blanket_Forts94 karma

I grew up there. As a queer kid growing up in scouting I understand what its like. camp Winton taught me how to be myself. It is a wildly expressive place and taught me that I am allowed to be who I am. When I became a staff member I found a tight knit group of people and felt comfortable coming out to them. I keep coming back because I know what it is like to be gay in scouting and wanted to recreate that expressive environment that can only be found at camp.

confusedbossman81 karma

As a Scoutmaster who was a counselor at Summer Camp growing up; who cares? There are kids in my troop now that are BLATANTLY gay but we don't care. We just want them to be good kids :)

Blanket_Forts54 karma

awesome, thats whats scouting is about

pdmcmahon22 karma

I have to say, even as a straight male, I think you're a good looking guy.

Be careful, /r/LadyBoners might try to snatch you up and convert you.

Blanket_Forts16 karma


peaches_trashcan20 karma

Do you think the public backlash about BSA's policies will change anything? Also, how did your scouts handle you leaving? Did you have to explain to them why you were fired?

Blanket_Forts38 karma

I was rushed out of the camp! I was given one hour to leave and told not to "make a big stink" I made a point to say my goodbyes to my fellow staff members and I was gone. I didn't have time to tell any scouts that I was leaving. However other staff members have told me that scouts kept asking were I was.

Also as for public backlash-- I hope it will help me gain support in changing the anti-gay policy and I am trying to start a petition.

wishiwasyou33320 karma

Keep your head up good sir. No questions, just wanted to say kudos to you for making this public and your fellow staff members for sticking up for you. Good on all of you!

Blanket_Forts21 karma

Thanks a lot I appreciate it!

TijuanaTacoMonster19 karma

Would you be interested in helping to forge a new scouts-type organization? One that is inclusive to all?

Blanket_Forts20 karma

yeah I still have hope for scouting, such a good program, not just for straight people. there are kids growing up in the organisation that are being taught intolerance

bawwsicle15 karma

Hard to believe this. I'm openly athiest, star scout and SPL of T453, and nobody has a problem with this. Maybe because the Bay Area is such a mixing pot of cultures of every single kind. Heck, we even have one or two closet gays in our troop. I hope the your Counsel decides to give everyone a fair chance in Scouting; best of luck! I've never been to Camp Winton and our troop won't either (I'll make sure to bring this discrimatory act up) unless they change their stance.

Blanket_Forts12 karma

well I hope there is some sort of discussion that talks about how gays are welcome in your troop, because that is where real change begins. As SPL you have a lot of power to empower people, good luck!

Dirtydiscodeeds12 karma

In the article it says you were given "warnings" about the way you dress etc. what warnings did they give you if any?

Blanket_Forts38 karma

I wore an earring that a scout made me from some plastic beads, he even had an earring hook and everything and I wore it for him on stage. I was asked to take that out and I did. The camp director threatened us with not giving out paychecks if we still had nail polish, which was the first warning. The staff all painted their nails after that, at least 20-25 people were wearing nail polish. I was singled out

tee_dogg10 karma

So what is the reasoning behind firing you? In what way being gay meant to prevent you from continuing to do your job (you managed 9 years without getting fired).

I'm a Brit so don't know much about American Scouting; is it a religious thing? Is that why they're claiming you're no longer appropriate to work with kids?

Good on you for being out and proud and on your colleagues for supporting you.

Blanket_Forts22 karma

The official reason on paper says that I was dressing as a woman and that I don't represent scouting's true values. The organization is trying to mask the fact that they are entirely funded through religious groups. The same day they announced the reaffirmation of the anti-gay policy is the same day they release a secret 2 year study that they had be conducting and funding. This study somehow proved that gays absolutely can't be a part of scouting. There isn't much information on the study online other than it was conducted by 11 council members.

sgtshears9 karma

Hey i have been a member of scouts australia for just over 13 year nows and im shocked a saddened to hear of something like this happened in scouting. I have very little knowledge of scouts over in the states is there much discrimination like this throughout the organization?

Blanket_Forts18 karma

The organization is almost entirely religiously funded at this point, most of the executives are mormon and scouting relents to their policies since that is where the money comes from.

poor_juxtaposition7 karma

Has the BSA taken your Eagle rank from you?

Blanket_Forts9 karma

I think they might, i'm not even sure if they would inform me of that. they are on there toes with the media thing right now, not sure if they want to make an announcement like that at this point. If not I might just send it back.

lamuril6 karma

Are you working on anything to change or protest the Boy Scouts' views? And if so, how can people help?

Blanket_Forts15 karma

I want to take this momentum and start a petition, possibly with i want to start marches in sacramento and work with other scouts and troops to get the local council to change the policy, hopefully to inspire councils around the nation

mikemaca6 karma

In the article it says you were fired for wearing nail polish, and in the discussion you mentioned that it was a tradition at this camp and the other staff members were also doing it. Was it everyone, or if not, how many of the 30 wore polish? Were you the only one fired for wearing polish, or were the others fired as well? Or did they stop wearing polish and you were the only one that continued? I'm not clear on this aspect of it.

It seems clear that if there were several people that continued to wear polish after being told not to but the only ones that were fired were the gay ones that continued to wear polish and not the non-gay ones that continued to wear polish, then the polish is irrelevant and people were fired for being gay. But if they only fired people who wore polish regardless of orientation, then that's a consistent policy, and a more reasonable case can be made it is actually over the polish.

Blanket_Forts16 karma

If it was nail polish issue, then 10 people wouldn't have quit their job and walked out of camp with me. people are still wearing nail polish at camp in solidarity. I was fired for being gay and every staff member knows it