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Outserve-SLDN to Choose New Board; Co-Chair to Resign

Outserve-SLDN board co-chair Josh Seefried is stepping down and a new board is being chosen for the LGBT military group, Buzzfeed reports:

SeefriedA new board of directors is coming to the LGBT military group OutServe-SLDN, but the latest moves being announced Wednesday evening are intended to allow for “a time to heal,” outgoing board co-chair Josh Seefried told BuzzFeed.

In a statement released Wednesday evening, Seefried announced his plans to step down from the board, and the board of directors announced “the formation of a transition committee, a group of four Board Members and four Chapter Leaders who will be working side-by-side to appoint new leadership to the Board of Directors and begin to see the organization in a new direction.”

Following the news this past weekend that the board had sought executive director Allyson Robinson’s resignation, some staff and board members also resigned from the organization. This led to an emergency board meeting, which then led to a statement from the board and Robinson — in which her resignation was not immediate and she said it was made of her own accord. Several OutServe-SLDN chapters remained unsatisfied and, as The Bilerico Project noted, demanded that Seefried leave the board.

More at Buzzfeed...


Many Questions Remain in Ousting of Outserve-SLDN Executive Director Allyson Robinson

Chris Johnson at the Washington Blade does a good job at summarizing the chaos over at Outserve-SLDN, where executive director Allyson Robinson, the first trans leader of a national LGBT organization, was reportedly forced by the board to resign:

RobinsonAccording to anonymous sources in Bilerico and Buzzfeed, reasons given to oust her ranged from a lack of ability to fundraise after “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal in addition to jealousy and anti-transgender bias. No source said anything on the record.

The board statement says OS-SLDN faces “real and significant” financial obstacles and has forced the board to consider “cutting costs and staffing reductions.” Still, Robinson late last year received $50,000 from the Arcus Foundation as the first grant under its “New Leadership” program.

OutServe-SLDN faced the prospect of having to restructure following repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” which was a major goal of its parent organizations: OutServe and Servicemembers Legal Defense Network. Since her start at the organization, Robinson had emphasized partner benefits for gay troops, membership expansion and non-discrimination in the military.

Allyson Robinson posted this statement on the Outserve Magazine:

CONTINUED, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Many Questions Remain in Ousting of Outserve-SLDN Executive Director Allyson Robinson" »


LGBT Military Group Outserve-SLDN Fires Executive Director; Staff, Board Resignations Follow

Following a reported internal power struggle, the complete details of which have yet to be divulged, Allyson Robinson, the executive director of LGBT military group Outserve-SLDN and the first trangender leader of a national LGBT rights organization, was asked to resign on Saturday. Robinson had been leading the organization for nine months.

RobinsonSeveral senior staffers at the organization - director of external relations Zeke Stokes, Gary Espinas, the director of chapter and member services - have also reportedly resigned, along with at least three board members - Sue Fulton, Matthew Phelps and Beth Schissel. Legal Director David McKean has technically resigned but says he will stay with the organization "until I can determine how to resolve matters related to client representation in accordance with legal ethics rules and requirements."

Buzzfeed reports:

The board co-chair, Josh Seefried, has been accused by the board member who resigned in protest, Sue Fulton, of having “rushed this vote through” on Saturday.

Seefried, however, would not comment, saying only, “We can’t talk right now. We have some internal issues to deal with first, then will be updating the community.”

Asked about the decision, Robinson would only tell BuzzFeed, “It would be inappropriate for me to comment at this time.”

...Saturday’s move came at a regularly scheduled board meeting, with no advance notice of the plans to seek Robinson’s resignation and only after the board spent several hours in executive session.

UPDATE: Chris Johnson at the Washington Blade sums up the ongoing chaos regarding reports on Robinson's ouster, none of which anyone at the organization has yet clarified.


LGBT Military Group Outserve to Hold Leadership Conference at Disney Orlando Army Resort

Outserve, the association of actively-serving LGBT U.S. military personnel, has announced the location of its annual leadership conference, which will take place October 25-28, 2012 at the military’s Shades of Green Resort in Orlando, Florida:

OutserveThe Conference will welcome currently serving LGBT and straight military members, veterans, spouses/partners, and allies to join workshops and meetings. Like the 2011 Conference, it will provide an international forum on creating an environment of respect in the military with regards to sexual orientation and gender identity, and provide the LGBT military community a venue for building professional networks, sharing best practices and formulating strategies that help build a stronger military community.  OutServe’s International Leadership Conference is the only conference designed around and for LGBT members of the largest fighting force in the world.

More information at Outserve.


LGBT Military Group Outserve to Hold Summit Focusing on Families

OutServe, the association of actively serving military personnel, announced the first OutServe Capital Summit, to be held May 14-15 in Washington, DC., which will focus on military partners and families, the group reports:

SeefriedThe Summit will gather actively-serving military of all sexual orientations with experts from resource and advocacy groups to discuss the legal rights of gay and lesbian military partners, as well as resources for their support. Spouses and partners of gay and lesbian service members are not currently provided all available resources to support their families during and after deployments, nor are they given access to base facilities or many educational, counseling, healthcare, and other privileges. For example, a gay or lesbian spouse cannot pick up a child from military day care, or purchase groceries for the family at the commissary.
 
“Our goal with this Summit is to bring together the military community to address the issues that affect LGBT military families and how to solve them,” said Josh Seefried (pictured), co-director of OutServe. “We need to educate decision-makers, as private citizens, how our families are affected – and send a clear message that our families matter.”

Registration is online HERE.


'JD Smith', Co-Founder of Gay Military Group Outserve, Reveals Identity

"JD Smith", the up-till-today anonymous co-founder of Outserve, the organization of actively serving LGBT servicemembers, has come out of the closet. The group's new issue of their magazine, which will be serviced to military bases internationally, profiles 101 gay and lesbian service members.

Seefried Says "Smith", now Josh Seefried, in an email received by Towleroad:

Friends,

My name is Josh Seefried and I am a finance officer in the United States Air Force currently stationed in New Jersey. I am a First Lieutenant and I graduated from the United States Air Force Academy in 2009 with a B.S. in Economics.  I grew up in Longmont, Colorado.

I personally felt it was important to come out of the closet on Day 1 to show that sexual orientation in the military will truly be a nonissue. Overseas we have seen that some militaries still do not have people that feel comfortable coming out with their sexual orientation, even years after the policy has changed.  I hope that by coming out, along with the other military members who chose to come out publicly in the pages of our magazine, help to show our military was ready for this change.

I feel privileged and honored to serve during this time in our nation’s history. This change in policy has not only made our military stronger, but America stronger. I’m proud to serve in the United States Air Force and proud of the fact gay servicemembers can now do their job with their integrity intact.

Josh Seefried, aka jd smith

Outserve The AP adds:

Although he expects only a fraction of the 65,000 gay men and lesbians estimated to be serving in the armed forces to reveal themselves at first, Seefried will not be alone. On Tuesday, his organization's magazine will publish an issue featuring photographs and biographies of him and 100 other gay service members. It will be available online and at Army and Air Force commissaries.

OutServe, which has grown to 4,300 members in more than 40 chapters from Alaska to Iraq, has had an exceptionally aggressive rise since its February 2010 launch. From the start, Seefried and a tech-savvy civilian friend, Ty Walrod, saw its mission as two-fold: to ease the isolation of gay service members and to educate the public about the price of requiring them to serve in silence.

You can download the latest issue of Outserve, featuring the 101 faaces of courage, on the group's website.

They write, of the issue: "The following 101 photos represent the approximately 70,000 currently serving LGBT military personnel. We serve in every country, in every conflict, and in every career field. We serve because we are committed to our country. We serve to protect those we love. We serve because we are dedicated to this self-evident truth — that all men are created equal."

Said Seefried: “We could not be more proud of this magazine and the opportunity it gives us to educate and inform all service members – gay and straight – about who we really are. There is so much misinformation out there about the LGBT community and as we begin a new day for the American military, OutServe Magazine will be a vehicle to tell our stories and a way of helping all of us understand each other better. As of today, we can speak up for ourselves honestly, so the troops on either side of us can understand, we have more in common than you might imagine.”


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