Neal Shipley can still recite the Scout’s oath, and says he’s proud to be an openly gay Eagle Scout.
“I achieved Eagle Scout, it’s the highest rank, the highest honor. About ten percent of Scouts make it that high”, Shipley said.
The 22-year old is obviously in favor of lifting the ban on openly gay members of the Boy Scouts of America, which will be voted on at a national meeting in Texas next week.
After Shipley came out to his parents at the age of 13, he had to lead a sort of double life in the world of scouting.
“I was lucky. My leaders were really nice, they were understanding. They liked me so it did become sort of a ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’. Outside of our troop, if we went to summer camp or social activities, it was kind of hush, hush, because not every troop is that open,” said Shipley.
He is set to graduate from Augustana College in Rock Island on Sunday.