Statement from the Board of Directors to OutServe-SLDN Members, Families, and Supporters
OutServeMag | On 24, Jun 2013
Washington, DC – The OS-SLDN Board and staff are in the process of transforming the organization from primarily a legal services organization into a membership services and advocacy organization. This not only includes revising our business model to operate effectively under new political and financial realities, but is also part of a larger effort to increase the role of the organization’s 6,500 members in the leadership and direction of the organization.
This past Saturday an email containing the contents of confidential internal discussions of the OS-SLDN Board of Directors was erroneously distributed to an email list containing recipients outside of the Board of Directors. The board would like to clarify that the drafted item was only part of a series of discussions aimed at transitioning the organization in what has been a rapidly changing financial and political landscape facing the LGBT movement, which will soon include a Supreme Court decision on the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act. As is the case with many of our partners at this critical time, OS-SLDN is facing real and significant financial obstacles, forcing the Board to look critically at all aspects of its operations and to consider difficult decisions, including cutting costs and staffing reductions.
Board Co-Chair, Josh Seefried, stated, “There is no excuse for the series of events that transpired this past weekend. On behalf of the Board of Directors, I sincerely apologize for this as well as the impact it’s had on our staff’s and members’ trust and confidence in the organization. Allyson Robinson has led OutServe-SLDN as one of the most transformational leaders of this movement, and there is not a member serving on this board who does not respect and admire her work for this organization and the LGBT movement.”
“Allyson has continually put our LGBT service members, veterans, and their families first in the changes the organization has faced since the repeal of DADT,” stated co-chair April Heinze. “As many in our community know, the LGBT movement is evolving quickly, and so will its institutions. Many people thought that after the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ all the military LGBT organizations would or should disappear. As Allyson Robinson and her staff have so powerfully and effectively reminded the nation, the mission for full equality in our Armed Forces is incomplete.”
Robinson, a 1994 graduate of West Point, has led OutServe-SLDN through some of the movement’s most significant victories since the repeal of DADT, including the public vetting of Chuck Hagel for the office of Secretary of Defense, the highlighting of ongoing discrimination against gay and lesbian military families at Ft. Bragg and elsewhere, and the extension of non-DOMA restricted benefits to same-sex military partners. She has worked tirelessly to put military families at the center of the discussion of the Defense of Marriage Act and has become the nation’s leading advocate for transgender inclusion in the military.
In light of these events, the board and Allyson will be working together toward a successful transition of the organization. Allyson will continue to serve as Executive Director throughout this period.
OS-SLDN operations and planned events, unless explicitly noted, will continue as planned to include the 2013 OutServe-SLDN Leadership Conference which will be held in San Antonio, Texas in October.
The OS-SLDN Board of Directors
OutServe-SLDN is the association of actively serving LGBT military personnel with more than fifty chapters and 6500 members around the world. It works to support a professional network of LGBT military personnel and create an environment of respect in the military with regard to sexual orientation and gender identity. For more information, visit www.outserve-sldn.org.