Does the name Baron Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben ring a bell? Probably not, since he is often put in the back of our history books. He served as inspector general and major general of the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War. He is recognized for teaching that army the essentials of military drill and discipline, thus helping the United States gain victory over the British.

What about Lieutenant Colonel T.E. Lawrence? Lawrence of Arabia, with his knowledge of the culture and people, helped create a revolt within Arab regions against the Ottoman Turks that led to the fall of that empire. More recently, we have all heard of Tim Cook. As CEO of Apple, his leadership has driven that company to be the most profitable in the world.

What do all these plus many more great leaders have in common? They were, or are, gay.

Recently, Robert M. Gates, the current president of the Boy Scouts of America and former director of the CIA, called for an end to the ban on gay adult leaders within the organization. The backlash over this announcement has been predictably polarized. As a parent myself, I worry about the exposure that my son gets from people he meets. As a former Navy SEAL and owner of a security company, I am very aware of the different dangers there are in this world.