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Robinson Sets OutServe-SLDN Goals in First LGBT Military Service Address

For immediate release:
Saturday, March 9, 2013

Contact: Zeke Stokes at
202-621-5406 or zeke@outserve-sldn.org

Robinson Sets Ambitious Goal for OutServe-SLDN Growth in First State of LGBT Military Service Address
Meanwhile, fight for full LGBT equality in our armed forces is far from over, she says

READ THE FULL SPEECH HERE 

(Washington, D.C.) In her first State of LGBT Military Equality Address, which took place tonight in Washington, D.C.at the OutServe-SLDN 2013 National Dinner, Army Veteran and Executive Director Allyson Robinson set a goal of reaching 14,000 actively serving OutServe-SLDN members by the end of 2014. Before the crowd of nearly 1000 service members, veterans, and supporters, she also cautioned against becoming complacent in the fight for full LGBT military equality.

“We need to be stronger because at its heart, our movement isn’t just a fight to pass laws or enact policies; it’s a campaign to change hearts, minds, and ultimately a nation. It’s not enough to check off the items on our policy agenda one by one and say one day, ‘we're done.’ We're working to create a military that truly embodies the values of fairness and equality it protects, one that leads the nation in inclusion rather than lagging behind it,” she said.

“So tonight I'm announcing a new goal. Tonight we commit ourselves to growing our membership from our current 6,000 to 14,000 actively serving members by the end of 2014 – that's one for every soldier, sailor, airman, marine, and coast guardsman kicked out under ‘Don't Ask, Don't Tell,” she said.

Additionally, Robinson previewed the creation of new categories of membership to expand the OutServe-SLDN influence.

“We begin tonight with categories for our veterans and our straight allies; in the weeks and months ahead, we'll expand further to take advantage of the full strength of America's diverse military family – and to ensure we’re not leaving anyone behind,” she said.

Robinson cautioned supporters against becoming complacent in the wake of the extension of some benefits to same-sex military families and as the nation awaits a decision from the Supreme Court related to the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) later this year.

“The fight for full LGBT equality in our armed forces is far from over. In fact, it's just getting started. LGBT troops still lack even the most basic nondiscrimination protections – protections that have been the standard with other American employers for years. The Defense of Marriage Act still denies LGBT military families the most important support services – things like health insurance and survivor benefits. Qualified Americans who are transgender and who want to serve in uniform are still forbidden from doing so by medical regulations that have become ridiculously obsolete. And despite the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," thousands of our troops are still in the closet, afraid of what coming out might mean for their careers, their families,” she said.

The 2013 OutServe-SLDN National Dinner also featured appearances by former Congressman Patrick Murphy (D-PA); reality television stars and winners of CBS’s "The Amazing Race," Josh Kilmer-Purcell and his partner Brent Ridge (The Fabulous Beekman Boys); New York stage sensations, The Broadway Boys; Washington Post opinion writer and MSNBC contributor Jonathan Capehart; Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson; and the first same-sex couple to wed in the West Point Cadet Chapel, Sue Fulton and Penelope Gnesin.

ABOUT OUTSERVE-SLDN: OutServe-SLDN is the association of actively serving LGBT military personnel with more than fifty chapters and 6000 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. It is a non-partisan, non-profit, legal services and policy organization dedicated to bringing about full LGBT equality to America's military and ending all forms of discrimination and harassment of military personnel on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. OS-SLDN provides free and direct legal assistance to service members and veterans affected by the repealed "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law and the prior regulatory ban on open service, as well as those currently serving who may experience harassment or discrimination. For more information, visit www.outserve-sldn.org.

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