Two major LGBT military support organizations finalize merger

OutServe and Servicemembers Legal Defense Network take final steps to make merger official

Two major LGBT military support organizations finalize merger
28 October 2012

All the paperwork has been signed and it’s all official. OutServe and Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, two prominent LGBT military policy organizations, have become one.

‘We are enthusiastic about the combination of these two vibrant and effective organizations,’ said retired Navy Captain April Heinze in a statement. ‘Our mission will be to provide the best representation, advocacy, and services for LGBT service members, veterans, and their families and continue the momentum we began toward reaching full LGBT equality in the military with the repeal of "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" last year.’

Heinze is the co-chair of the board of  OutServe-SLDN. The board’s second leader is Josh Seefried, co-founder/director of OutServe.

‘This comes down to mission first, just as it always is in the military,’ said Seefried. ‘This is a great day for both organizations and for the LGBT service members and veterans around the world, who need a strong, unified voice speaking for them at the White House, on Capitol Hill, at the Pentagon, and among the American people. What began as a simple effort to tell our stories has grown into something we could never have imagined, and this combination represents the next step in that evolution.’

SLDN  was founded in 1993, when ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ became the official military policy of the US. The policy barred discrimination of gay troops, but kept military personnel from being out. Since its implementation approximately 14,500 troops have been discharged under DADT.

OutServe started as underground movement for LGBT troops to connect via Facebook. When the Defense Department started to study the possibility of repeal, OutServe was diligent in making sure the stories of those soldiers who couldn’t speak publicly, for fear of being discharged, were heard.

Although DADT repeal was signed by President Barack Obama, OutServe-SLDN still has work to do on equal recognition, support, and benefits for all military families. The organization will also assist those with a ‘homosexual’ discharge record to reflect the honorable service of all dismissed for their sexual orientation during the DADT era and before.

On 25 Oct. Allyson Robinson, a West Point graduate, was named as OutServe-SLDN’s new executive director.

HAVE YOUR SAY

MORE TOP STORIES

No thumbnail available

Gay teachers demand audience with Pope over unfair firings

One first grade teacher, who was at her post for over 14 years, had to choose between her job and supporting her gay son
No thumbnail available

Sam Smith will never perform in Russia over anti-gay laws

Gay singer has recently pledged to do more to help LGBTI rights
No thumbnail available

Here is the new trailer for UK's 'biggest gay drama' Cucumber, Banana, Tofu

Russell T Davies, who created Queer As Folk, is back in Manchester to celebrate gay life
No thumbnail available

Christian group: ‘Better to die than live in pro-gay world’

The Family Leader has admitted the Western world is getting more and more LGBT friendly
No thumbnail available

Barbra Streisand turns 70 and celebrates

The artist who once said 'Hello, gorgeous' is not thinking about retirement
No thumbnail available

Oscar Pistorius cut from pro-gay It Gets Better campaign

Paralympic athlete, charged with the murder of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, will no longer be involved in the homophobic bullying campaign
No thumbnail available

Dan Savage uses gay slur to slam GOProud for its support of Mitt Romney

He tweets: 'The GOP's house faggots grab their ankles, right on cue'
No thumbnail available

Topless Ghost hunk Mark Evans helps Gotye tribute go viral

London's Ghost The Musical leads - gay heartthrob Mark Evans and Siobhan Dillon - make sexy video homage to Somebody That I Used To Know
No thumbnail available

Gay radio host badly beaten up in Denmark

A crowd of young men allegedly attacked the openly gay DJ after he left a bar in central Copenhagen
No thumbnail available

Kenya government: 'We will not allow homosexuality in our society'

'It violates our religious and cultural beliefs'