Scouts March With Pride
On 31 January 2016, Scouts Victoria joined the annual Pride March in Melbourne for the first time. While many had marched with other groups in previous years, this year LGBTIQ members and their allies—friends and family—decided it was time to participate as Scouts.
Led by Scout Ailbhe of 4th Williamstown Scout Group, who carried a flag bearing the World Scout Emblem, the participation of almost 50 Scouts, Venturers, Rovers, and Leaders reinforced that Scouting is a movement that welcomes all people, regardless of gender, faith, language, location, or sexual orientation. In fact for many young people, Scouting is a safer and more supportive environment than school; a place where they can be themselves.
Scouting also speaks out on issues that affect young people, and for many young people identity is one of the most important. We were proud to celebrate diversity, and share a message that Scouting is an inclusive, welcoming and contemporary organisation.
The support from those watching—both in person and following at home via social media—was overwhelming. There were encouraging calls of ‘dyb dyb dyb, dob dob dob!’ from the crowd, with a number of former members giving a salute as we marched past. Several commented on how wonderful it was to see Scouting representing and supporting the LGBTIQ community.
Thanks must go to Tim Druce, Scott Davis, Morris Orchard, Andrew Taylor, and Annie Asquith for their assistance in the planning and organisation for the day, as well as to every Scout, Venturer, Rover, and Leader who attended to show their support for LGBTIQ members of Scouting.
We look forward to continuing this important show of support for all of our members regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity, nationality, faith, language or abilities. Information about participating with Scouts Victoria in the 2017 Pride March will be available towards the end of this year.
Scouting provides young people with a diverse and adventurous program—from rock climbing to theatre sports—and our participation in events like Pride March reinforce that it's a program for all.
Photos: Heather Gaskell