Letter to the editor: Because of Zach Wahls, my son became the first openly gay Eagle Scout

Zach Wahls announces his candidacy for Iowa State Senate. Thursday, Dec. 21, 2017. — photo by Zak Neumann

By Tracie Felker, Hagerstown, Maryland

In 2014, my son Pascal Tessier became the nation’s first openly gay Eagle Scout because of Zach Wahls. From a young age, Pascal worked hard to meet every single requirement and earn every merit badge he needed in order to earn his Eagle rank. But without Zach’s founding of Scouts for Equality and his leadership as its Executive Director, Pascal would have been kicked out of the Boy Scouts when he came out as gay in high school.

I got to work alongside Zach in the thick of the campaign to overturn the Boy Scouts’ ban on gays. Zach is a remarkable young man: smart, articulate, someone who listens deeply and cares about improving the quality of life for everyone. He has a rare ability to find a path forward amongst parties who disagree.

Because of those abilities, my son made history as our country’s first openly gay Eagle Scout. So don’t let anyone tell you that Zach doesn’t have experience. His experience, his leadership, his people skills and his values will serve you well. He will fight just as hard for your family as he fought for mine.

I urge you to vote for Zach Wahls for the Iowa Senate in the June 5 Democratic primary.


  1. As a Scout leader and parent of two Scouts working hard to break down gender barriers in the Boy Scouts, I have seen how Zach is a positive moral influence for so many of our youth. Zach will be such a strong advocate for his constituents.

    Gary Ireland

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