The members of Boy Scout Troop 52 of Chevy Chase, one of the nation's oldest, formed a circle and applauded Tessier as he was recognized with the rank of Eagle Scout, reports WISTV.com. Tessier, who is gay, has spoken frequently to the national media advocating for the overturn of the Boy Scouts' ban on gay scouts.
Gay youths have been allowed in the Boy Scouts of America since Jan. 1, after the organization's national council voted last May to lift its longstanding ban on gay scouts.
While there is no official tracking of gay members, Tessier is likely the nation's first openly gay Eagle approved under the new policy, according to the advocacy group Scouts for Equality.
Tessier, 17, and his Bethesda-Chevy Chase Boy Scout Troop held a demonstration earlier this year at the National Capital Area Council of Boy Scouts, demanding that openly gay youth be admitted to the BSA, reports NBC Washington.However, gay leaders in the organization remain banned and Tessier and his family hope to see that restriction lifted as well.
"On my 18th birthday, I'm planning on applying to be an adult leader for the Boy Scouts so that we push the issue," he told
Last spring, as a junior at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School, Tessier spoke with the national media as Boy Scout national leaders were considering changing the policy. He told The Washington Post he would be "devastated" if he were not allowed to earn Eagle Scout status because of his sexuality.
He told CBS News This Morning it was time that the Boy Scouts lifted the ban.
"Simply because you've been teaching something for a long amount of time doesn't mean it's right," he said.
Tessier said he was glad he would still be able to call himself a Boy Scout and become an Eagle Scout, but he said he would remain an activist on the issue.
"There's so much more to do," he told CBS News. "I'm not stopping. That's for sure."
He told the Post his experience as a Scout has been life-changing and he "wouldn’t be the person I am today without the Boy Scouts."