Hey there! Welcome to Morally Straight.
This newsletter is decidedly not straight. It’s actually about the LGBTQ+ folks fighting for a more inclusive future in the Boy Scouts of America. It gives Scouters, parents, families and allies the inside story of how this organization is changing—and how you can play a part in making it happen.
Who am I?
This newsletter is written by me, Mike De Socio, a queer journalist and Eagle Scout. I grew up in New Jersey, where I worked my way through the ranks and cut my teeth as a student journalist reporting on the BSA’s gay membership controversy. Now I live in upstate New York with my partner, and work as an independent journalist covering cities, climate change and the LGBTQ+ community.
I’m also the author of a forthcoming book on this topic: “Morally Straight: How the Fight for LGBTQ Inclusion Changed the Boy Scouts—And America.”
There are two ways to subscribe to Morally Straight:
Sign up for free, and you’ll receive one email every week, on Fridays at 9 a.m. Eastern. These posts are the core of my work, and include previously untold stories about the pushes for LGBTQ+ inclusion in the Boy Scouts; profiles of prominent activists and change-makers; and personal reflections about my own experience as a queer Scouter.
Sign up for a paid subscription, and you’ll receive all of that plus one in-depth post each month. These deep dives are where the rubber hits the road. I’ll give you inside access to the movers and shakers within the BSA, and actionable information that helps you create a more diverse and equitable future for the organization.
What’s with the name?
The name comes from a part of the Scout Oath, which implores us to be, among other things, “morally straight.” Once upon a time, that phrase was weaponized to justify decades of discrimination against LGBTQ+ people in Scouting. But now I’m taking it back to show that being queer and being moral are not mutually exclusive.
What’s my approach?
As a journalist, I approach this work much like any other article I’m reporting or writing. Here’s what that means:
I will do my best to get it right. I trust my sources, but also do my best to verify the information I am sharing whenever possible.
Many of the stories I’m dealing with here are thorny, complicated and highly emotional for the people in them, who’ve often been marginalized or harmed. I believe them and give them the benefit of the doubt, but also bring the healthy dose of skepticism I have with any subject. When I (inevitably) do get things wrong, I’ll be transparent, correct what I can and learn to do better next time.
I welcome feedback when it comes in good faith. I want to engage with the readers of this newsletter (many of you send me replies each week that I really cherish!) and wrangle with these sometimes complicated topics.
I will recognize that I don’t know what I don’t know. Each time I speak to someone about Scouting, I’m amazed at the sheer range of experiences people have in this program. Scouting varies so much from troop to troop, region to region.
What people say about Morally Straight
If you’re interested in hearing more of these stories — about rebels and revolutionaries — stick around. I hope to build a beautiful community here where we can can learn from each other. And maybe help create a more inclusive future along the way.