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MW: Was there any particular person or a particular story that drove it home more than any other?
TESSIER: There was one story, a Boy Scout camp counselor, a female who was openly gay, and apparently one day she was called into the office and they told her that she had to leave. They told her that she had to leave immediately and they wouldn’t give her a ride to the airport or a ride home or anything. Apparently what ended up happening is she had to pack her bags within the hour and start walking until a friend came to pick her up. Which is just…. Why? That’s something that stuck out to me.
MW: You were in Dallas for the vote. Did you anticipate what the outcome was going to be?
TESSIER: I was definitely hopeful at the time, also fearful. I didn’t know what to expect, really. Anything could’ve happened. They could’ve chosen to delay it again or they could have voted against it completely. I had no idea what was going to happen.
MW: When you got the answer, what was your reaction?
TESSIER: I didn’t know what to feel just because there were so many other people in the room. People were so happy and obviously I was happy too, but just that it was too much to take in at once. It didn’t sink in until much later, and at that point I was thrilled for myself, but also sad for all the other people who were there working in Dallas with me to change the ban. They were all adults and the current resolution only accepts [youths]. So, they don’t get to feel the same victory that I did, which was heartbreaking in a way.
MW: For the ban that still remains for anybody over the age of 18, are you still active in trying to reverse that? Where does it go from here?
TESSIER: I don’t know. I do know I’m not going to let it stand as it is. Like I said, all the people who were working with me, they were all adults and they were really the ones who made the change happen. And that those people don’t get the same is unfair and I want them to feel the same joy I felt.
MW: Have you ever thought that you’d get so fed up with the policy that you might consider leaving?
TESSIER: No, not really, because it was never really an issue for me personally until recently. Until it was brought more to my attention I never really thought about it, honestly. I knew it was in existence, it just didn’t really seem relevant.
MW: But now, in less than two years, you would be kicked out under the current policy.
TESSIER: I think it would be easier for me to work with my troop and work with other people from inside my troop with all the people I already know and the friends that I’ve made, it will be easier to make a difference.
The current resolution doesn’t become active until the beginning of next year, and I’m actually glad for that because it gives us time to make that change from partial inclusion of just youths and then full inclusion of everyone. And I think somewhere in between that time is when this partial inclusion is going to change. I don’t think there’s a way that they could forever keep a ban on adults only. It’s just inevitable, really, for it to change. Who knows how quickly that change will come, but it will come.
As far as being a Boy Scout in general, it’s just a great experience. Like I said, it’s shaped me as a person and into who I am today. And without being a Boy Scout, I wouldn’t have been able to do this, which I think is very interesting and ironic. I also just want to add that it’s been fun. It’s been great.