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“What’d you have to say that for?”

He sat back in his chair and loosened the scarf around his neck. A fan spun overhead and a small breeze drifted in through the open window. The boy sat in a small wooden chair, a pimple on his right cheek and small green cloth cap in his hand, looking straight ahead at the man who fidgeted with a button on his sleeve.

“I just,” the man said. “You shouldn’t have said that.”

“I’m not ashamed,” the boy said. “I have nothing to be ashamed of. I could be an example…’

The man stood up shaking his head and put his hand on the boy’s shoulder.

“No,” the man said. “That can’t happen. That’s not what we’re about.”

“I know,” the boy said. “But we could be. Everyday there’s another story about some kid who can’t deal with all of the pressure. Who can’t deal with the name calling and the hatred. We could be leaders. We could be examples.”

The boy stood and turned toward the man, the chair separating their bodies, and clasped his hands in front of his chest.

“I understand,” the boy said. “That you don’t want to promote this lifestyle. But don’t you see? By turning me away you’re telling them that it’s OK to hate. That it’s OK to discriminate.”

The man shook his head. He pushed the chair away and stepped forward toward the young man. He threw his arms around his shoulders and pulled him into his chest.

“I’m sorry that it is this way,” the man said.

The boy lowered his head onto the man’s shoulder and the man slowly untied the scarf around the boy’s neck.

“You deserve to wear this,” he said, holding the scarf in his hand. “You have nothing to be ashamed of. It’s just, policy.”

The boy pressed himself again against the man’s chest before hurrying out of the room. The man held the small scarf in his hand and shook his head.

“What’d he have to say that for?”

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Eric Jones was an Eagle Scout with the Boys Scouts of America for nearly 10 years up until Sunday. The 19-year-old, who was serving as a counselor at one of the organization’s summer camps in Missouri, sat down with the camp director to tell him that he was gay. – NY Daily News

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