Trans vet tapped to lead combined SLDN/OutServe

by QNotes Staff  Staff Reports  editor@goqnotes.com
Published: October 25, 2012 in Blog

Via press release…

SLDN & OutServe Tap Army Veteran to Lead Newly Combined Organization Allyson Robinson, 1994 West Point graduate, will become first OutServe-SLDN Executive Director

(WASHINGTON, DC) Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) and OutServe, the association of
actively serving LGBT military personnel, today announced the selection of Army veteran Allyson Robinson
to lead the newly combined organization. Robinson assumes the post as the two organizations are slated
to finalize their combination this weekend. The combination was announced in July.

“I am honored to lead the new OutServe-SLDN into this next phase of advocacy and action on behalf of our
brave LGBT service members, veterans, and their families. Until they are guaranteed equal opportunity,
recognition, support, and benefits, our mission is incomplete. We cannot and will not leave them behind,”
said Robinson, who departs her position at Human Rights Campaign (HRC) to take the helm of the new
organization today.

A native of Scranton, PA, Robinson is a 1994 graduate of the United States Military Academy at West
Point, where she majored in physics. After an internship at Los Alamos National Laboratory, she was
commissioned as an officer in the Army and commanded PATRIOT missile units in Europe and the Middle
East. She also served as a senior trainer/evaluator for NATO and as an advisor to the armed forces of
Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar. Robinson resigned her commission in 1999 to pursue a calling to Christian
ministry, serving as pastor-teacher to churches in the Portuguese Azores and central Texas. She earned a
master of divinity degree in theology with a capstone emphasis in social justice from Baylor University in
2007.

Most recently, as the first Deputy Director for Employee Programs of the HRC Foundation’s Workplace
Project, Robinson drove the design and delivery of HRC’s broad portfolio of training and curricula for
corporate leadership and employee audiences to improve LGBT cultural competence and inclusion in the
workplace. She lives with her wife of 18 years and their four children in Gaithersburg, MD.

“Allyson Robinson is exactly the right person at the right time to be our leader and voice in Washington in
the fight to achieve full LGBT equality in the military. She comes with an exemplary military background,
strong political and policy acumen, and a deep commitment and vision for bringing about the changes
needed to carry forward the work we began with the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’” said April Heinze,
retired Navy captain and co-chair of the SLDN Board of Directors.

Representing seven plaintiff same-sex military couples – each legally married — SLDN filed a federal court
challenge in October 2011 to the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and other federal laws that
prevent the military from providing equal recognition, benefits and support to all service members and their
families. Robinson said today that among her priorities will be accelerating the fight for equal support and
benefits for all service members.

“The repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ taught us that to be victorious, we must fight inequality on multiple
fronts – in the courts, on Capitol Hill, and in the public square. It’s time to pass the Respect for Marriage
Act, revise laws that prevent the military from honoring the service of all of our nation’s men and women in
uniform, and end marriage discrimination for our service members and their families once and for all,”
Robinson said.

Robinson, who is transgender, also vowed to continue the important work necessary to bringing about full
LGBT equality in the military.

“We cannot stop until we reach the day when all qualified Americans who wish to wear the uniform of our
armed forces have the opportunity to do so with honor and integrity – and without fear of discrimination or
harassment – whether they are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender,” Robinson said.

In addition to advancing the mission of full equality in the military, Robinson will lead a newly-formed
organization with an expanded mission, the result of the combination of SLDN and OutServe, which
currently boasts 6000 members worldwide.

“From the moment I met Allyson, I knew she was the right leader for OutServe-SLDN,” said Josh Seefried,
co-founder and co-director of OutServe. “As someone who graduated from West Point, deployed multiple
times and has dedicated her life to advancing social justice, she will relate to service members and
supporters and lead this organization to a new level. She is a professional of unparalleled experience and
will earn the respect and admiration of LGBT service members right away.”

SLDN and OutServe conducted a national search in coordination with the firm, McCormack & Associates,
based in Los Angeles, CA.

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ABOUT SLDN: Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) 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. 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. Since 1993, our in-house legal team has
responded to more than 12,000 requests for assistance. Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender service
members with questions are urged to contact the SLDN hotline to speak with a staff attorney: Call
1-800-538-7418 or 202-328-3244 x100.

ABOUT OUTSERVE: OutServe is the association of actively-serving LGBT military personnel. With more
than 6,000 members and 50+ chapters worldwide, it is one of the largest LGBT employee resource groups
in the world. OutServe 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.org