So the discussion about the Boy Scouts of America and their policy excluding gays and atheists got me curious about the subject so I started googling. In particular, I wanted to see if Lord Baden-Powell, the founder of Scouts had anything to say about homosexuality. I remembered that he was big on sexual abstinence and decried the evils of "self-pollution," ie whacking off.
Well, was I surprised that my search results came up that Baden-Powell may have been a repressed homsexual himself and maybe even a pedophile. Two biographers have come to that conclusion, at least. Again, it's their interpretation and it's highly debated.
Some of the evidence they look to:
-Powell recorded his dreams in a diary and most of them were about young boys (this could be because he worked with boys all day, not because he was gay)
-Powell enjoyed watching naked boys swim and got upset when swimming naked was banned. He disdained female nudity.
when Powell was staying overnight at the school with his old friend A. H. Tod, who had been in the Rifle Corps and in the football 1st XI with him. In November 1919 Tod was over the retirement age but still teaching because it was wartime and all the younger staff had joined up. 'Stayed with Tod,' Stephe wrote in his diary. 'Tod's photos of naked boys and trees etc. Excellent.'. That a bachelor housemaster should have taken large numbers of nude photographs of his boys evidently did not strike Baden-Powell as undesirable. A few days later he wrote to Tod about starting a Scout troop at the school and added that he would soon be visiting Charterhouse again, 'which will give me the opportunity of seeing the football; and possibly I might get a further look at those wonderful photographs of yours!'
- He didn't marry until he was 55 years old. When he did, he married a 23 year old and had her change her looks so she looked more like a boy. She flattened her breasts, hid her cleavage with a neckerchief, cut her hair, and wore outfits that looked like boy scout uniforms. They had three kids, but descriptions of the Powell's relationship with his wife make it seem like there wasn't much romance there.
-Like alleged pedophile Michael Jackson, Baden-Powell loved Peter Pan. I don't think the love of Peter Pan makes a man a pedophile, but he definitely had some Peter Pan syndrom going on in that he seemed to relate better with boys rather than men his age. Which is sort of creepy when you're 55 years old.
Again, this is pretty speculative and historians will never be able to truly determine Baden-Powell's sexuality because most of his private correspondence were destroyed. Even if was gay or even a pedophile, there's no evidence that Baden-Powell acted out on his feelings. The man was obsessed with stifling sexual feelings and even counseled young men to go stick their wiener in cold water if they had the urge to masturbate. But again, we'll never know.
I don't really have a point with this. I just thought it was interesting.