Ryan Andresen, the incredibly badass 18-year-old who was booted from boy scouts because he's gay, is getting the recognition he so deserves. After scoring a spot on the Ellen Show and Anderson Cooper 360, the East Bay teen's next stop is the state capitol, where he'll be honored by the California Assembly.
As readers probably recall, Ryan -- a lifelong boy scout -- was recently denied the top honor Eagle Award he rightfully earned after scout leaders decided his sexual orientation wasn't Scouts material.
Ryan's mother, Karen Andresen, wasn't happy about this and started a Change.org petition, which was signed by more than 425,000 people. The petition -- and Ryan's story -- went viral, putting the spotlight once again on the Boy Scouts of America and their policy to prohibit gays from the organization.
The scouts took it a step farther and booted Ryan from the organization, explaining that it was because he is gay. Eric Andresen, Ryan's father, resigned from troop leadership and the family met with the Boy Scout leaders, delivering the 400,000-plus signatures in support of Ryan. From what we hear, the local scouts leaders are reviewing the petition that asks them to stand up to the organization's national policy against gays.
Ryan had completed all of the requirements for his Eagle Scout Award, including a capstone project where he worked with a local middle school to build a "Tolerance Wall" on its grounds to raise awareness about bullying.
"Ryan has been so brave in telling his story. He's always been a very reserved person who stayed away from the spotlight, but he knows how important this campaign is for current and future Scouts and Scout leaders," his mother said. "The outpouring of support from leaders in Sacramento, as well as the more than 425,000 people who have signed the petition, has been such a huge help. I know we're closer than ever to getting Ryan the Eagle award he deserves."
On Monday, Ryan will be recognized by openly gay California Assembly Speaker John Perez, and will attend meetings with public supporters of the campaign, including Assemblywoman Karen Skinner, state Sen. Leland Yee, and Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom.