If you ask the Boy Scouts of America, being gay is the sexual identity equivalent of pooping your pants. It's fine for a child, but when a boy becomes a man, a man cannot be having that shit anymore. A boy can love a boy, but a man can't love a man.
Bypassing the pissing and moaning of parents who want to yank their children from the BSA (soon to be renamed The Great All-American Gay Porn Hub), the leaders of one of the largest youth organizations in one of the greatest countries in the world, in 2013 I might add, are squatting on their hopelessly dated policy of banning openly gay adults from serving as leaders, and they are not budging their tight, white, wrinkled, Conservative-cash-loving asses on that one.
Gay youth are being double-damned on this policy, because while their inclusion gives lip-service to a spirit of acceptance and progress, the gaping hole where their gay role models within the organization should be are empty. And that void is not silent. It's filled with the omnipresent threats of anti-gay organizations to pull funding because the very acknowledgment of gay individuals is an affront. It is filled with the constant shitstorm of media controversy that gay people find themselves at the center of simply by being open about who they are. The void is tacit compliance on the part of BSA's leaders to invite gay youth into the organization to be isolated, marginalized, and bullied on a public stage.
And yet, the BSA's historic vote today, the marginal good, the extensive bad, the exceedingly ugly, is progress. Those who advocate an end to the ban against gay people in it's entirety point out that gay boys grow up to become gay men--and they are entirely right. It's easy for the BSA to turn away leaders who are TEH GAY, that massive, faceless entity that they've conditioned themselves to believe impugn the masculinity and morality that the BSA strives to uphold. In ten years, when the openly gay youth who are admitted to the scouts next year apply for leadership positions, they will be Brian, and Andrew, and Steve, the highly decorated and able scouts looked up to by their younger troop mates. And it will be much harder to turn them away after a decade of service to the organization.
The BSA ban on gay leaders is still discrimination in all its ugly, ignorant glory, but the number of people being discriminated against is dwindling. We pause to acknowledge that victory, and then we fight on until that number is a fat, happy zero. The gay youth (and adults) of America are counting on it. The straight youth are, as well. When gay men and women are held up as leaders, based on their intelligence, compassion, and general decency, all kids learn that sexuality is a baseless reason to eschew anyone. It's a lesson worth learning, and a goal worth pursuing.
And today, we are one step closer.