Morally Straight

How the Fight for LGBTQ Inclusion Change the Boy Scouts—And America

A deeply-reported narrative that illuminates the battle for LGBTQ+ inclusion in the Boy Scouts of America, a decades-long struggle led by teenagers, parents, activists, and everyday Americans.

Weaving in his own experience as a scout and journalist, Mike De Socio’s Morally Straight tells a story that plays out over the course of twenty-five years, beginning in an era when gay rights were little more than a cultural sideshow; when same sex marriage was not even on the radar; and when much of the country was recommitting to conservative social mores. It was during this treacherous time that accidental activists emerged, challenging one of America’s most iconic institutions in a struggle that would forever change the country’s view of gay people and the rights they held in society.

In Morally Straight we meet James Dale, the poster child of Scouting who took his fight for inclusion to the Supreme Court; Steven Cozza, the 12-year-old scout in California who started a movement for inclusion called Scouting for All; Jennifer Tyrrell, the lesbian den mother whose expulsion from the Scouts reignited the gay membership controversy; Zach Wahls, the son of lesbian moms who led the final push for policy change; and an array of other previously unknown scouters who played smaller — but no less crucial — roles in the fight for full inclusion.

Through original interviews and reporting, Morally Straight braids together these characters and brings to life their collective struggle. This is an essential narrative in the American LGBTQ+ rights movement — and a truly American story about the fight for a better future for our nation’s bedrock youth organization.