Frontlines: The Latest from OutServe-SLDN
On Friday, multiple media outlets - Buzzfeed was among the first - reported that the Defense Department will begin to extend benefits to same-sex domestic partners starting September 1, 2013.
The Department of Defense had set a goal of August 31, 2013 for implementing the benefits extension, but did not have firm deadline before October 1, 2013. Now it appears the Department of Defense will implement this extension on the early side of the implementation window. The benefits extension policy was announced on February 11, 2013 by then-Secretary of Defense Panetta after lengthy advocacy by OutServe-SLDN to do so. Secretary Hagel reconfirmed his commitment to extending these benefits in a memo dated April 24, 2013.
For a comprehensive FAQ and explanation of the benefits extension, please see: http://www.outserve-sldn.org/content/pages/3677/
06-10-13 By David McKean, OutServe-SLDN Legal and Policy Director | Comment (0)
05-27-13 By Karen Morgan, Plaintiff, McLaughlin v. Panetta | Comment (0)
OutServe-SLDN has grown and changed significantly since our last ILC in Orlando. In the seven months since then, we have:
- Completed our merger to become the largest association of LGBT service members in America
- Opened our membership to include veterans, civilian employees of the Department of Defense, and other civilian supporters.
- Expanded our mission and adopted new strategic priorities focused on the future.
We have also accomplished a great deal. We were at the center of the public vetting of Chuck Hagel to be Secretary of Defense. We looked blatant, unremorseful discrimination in the eye at Fort Bragg and won. We took historic steps toward transgender inclusion in the U.S. armed forces. We secured from DOD nearly every benefit that could be offered to same-sex military families with DOMA in place, and we put those families front and center in the fight to bring DOMA down once and for all.
But our work is far from over; in fact, it is just getting started. As DADT fades in the rear view mirror and as marriage equality advances in the states and in the courts, many of our members are finding that policy change has not been enough to transform their lived experience for the better. What is really needed is a culture change. That is why OutServe-SLDN has refocused itself over the last six months Â– weÂ’re taking on the long-term work of building cultures of respect and inclusion of all, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, in DOD and DVA.
That is also why we have chosen "Breaking Barriers, Building Leaders" as our theme for the 2013 conference. WeÂ’re going to provide participants – service members, family members, DOD civilians, veterans, and allies - with some of the tools and resources necessary to break through barriers of unconscious bias and entrenched prejudice in their communities. We are going to help them become even more effective leaders for the post-DADT military. And thatÂ’s where you come in. We want you to join us in this work.
We would like you to submit proposals for workshops, panels, and presentations that help us accomplish these goals. You might consider some of these suggestions Â– but do not let them limit your creativity!
- Leadership development for LGBT members of the military community
- Building networks of support for LGBT military families
- Educating and empowering allies
- Coming out and living openly in a military community context
- Building LGBT equality in the military workplace
- Preparing for and living in a post-Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) world
To submit your proposal, click here.
05-23-13 By Allyson Robinson, OutServe-SLDN Executive Director | Comment (0)
Pentagon Recognizes Transgender Veteran with OutServe-SLDN Assistance. The Pentagon formally recognized earlier this month that there are transgender veterans — a step that LGBT advocates say is a long way from open transgender service in the military, but also a significant first step in that process. To read more, click here.
OutServe-SLDN Board of Directors Adopts New Mission Statement. Last weekend in Washington, DC, the OutServe-SLDN Board of Directors met to finalize and approve a new mission statement for the organization that focuses on growing OS-SLDN for the future beyond just the achievement of our policy initiatives. To see the new mission, click here.
Join the OutServe-SLDN Online Town Hall Saturday at 2 p.m. EDT. OutServe-SLDN will host its second online town hall meeting on Saturday, May 18 at 2 p.m. EDT for members and supporters. The event - a Google Hangout entitled "A new era, a new kind of organization" - will focus on the recent adoption of a refined mission statement by the OutServe-SLDN Board of Directors, provide a preview of the new membership structure about to be announced publicly, and allow participants to submit questions to OS-SLDN Executive Director Allyson Robinson and Director of Chapter and Member Services Gary Espinas. For more information, including directions for participation, click here.
OutServe-SLDN in Seattle Next Week. OutServe-SLDN will host a reception in Seattle, WA next weekend. Ticket prices start at just $25 and may be purchased here.
05-17-13 By Zeke Stokes, OutServe-SLDN Communications Director | Comment (0)
Today the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs was scheduled to hold a hearing to consider a number of legislative items. The hearing was postponed, but a Committee spokesman confirmed that it will be rescheduled. When it is, one of the items Committee members will hear about will be the Charlie Morgan Military Spouses Equal Treatment Act of 2013. The bill is named after our dear friend Chief Warrant Officer Charlie Morgan, who passed away earlier this year after a brave and tireless battle with cancer. Before she passed, Charlie did so much to advance the cause of LGBT military equality, especially by highlighting the damage that the so-called Defense of Marriage Act does to our service members, veterans and their families.
I was invited by the Committee to submit testimony, which I was honored to provide. In my testimony, which you can read here, I discuss Charlie's effort to see DOMA and other discriminatory provisions repealed. I also convey to the Committee why the Charlie Morgan Act is necessary regardless of what the Supreme Court does with DOMA. I hope that you take a moment to learn more about this important piece of legislation. You can read more here.
05-15-13 By Allyson Robinson, OutServe-SLDN Executive Director | Comment (0)
June is LGBT Pride Month, and OutServe-SLDN's members and supporters will attend dozens of Pride events across the country - and indeed around the world - as we celebrate and honor how far we have come on our journey to full equality in this country.
We need your help today to get our chapters the resources they need to be be successful at these events - things like banners, t-shirts, educational information, and promotional supplies. And we don't have much time to do it.
We need to raise $10,000 more in the next ten days in order to meet our goal for supplying our chapters and members with what they need. Here's how your contribution can make a difference today:
- $10 buys a t-shirt for a volunteer
- $25 buys 100 flyers to educate the public about our fight for equality and what they can do to help
- $50 buys a banner that our members use to march proudly in Pride parades
- $100 or more helps us pay registration fees and secure our participation
05-14-13 By Gary Espinas, Chapter & Member Services Director | Comment (0)
We invite you to be part of history and join OutServe-SLDN as we participate in the first national Give OUT Day on May 9th. It's a great way to use your social media network to make a difference for our men and women in uniform, our veterans, and their families.
What is Give OUT Day?
Give OUT Day is a new national initiative that will engage hundreds of organizations and mobilize thousands of people on a single day across the country to give in support LGBT causes.
How does it work?
Donate online through OutServe-SLDN's Give OUT Day page or create your own fundraising page here to get your friends and family involved. You can make a donation now or set it to be processed on May 9th.
Why do we need you?
The repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" was just the beginning of our fight for full LGBT military equality - not the end. Your support today will help us keep up the fight for these brave patriots, veterans, and their families.
Click this link to get started!
05-01-13 By Zeke Stokes, OutServe-SLDN Communications Director | Comment (0)
Military Families Challenging DOMA Set to be Honored at Logo TV’s NewNowNext Awards. OutServe-SLDN and Logo Television announced Thursday that uniformed service members and veterans will be in the audience to be honored at the cable television network’s NewNowNext Awards ceremony, taking place in Los Angeles, CA, this weekend. The show will air on Logo TV at 10:00 p.m. EDT on Monday, April 15, 2013. For more on the event and OS-SLDN's nomination as "Most Innovative Charity," click here.
Gay Marine Captain, Fiancé Featured in "Freedom to Serve, Freedom to Marry Campaign" Video. Freedom to Marry and OutServe-SLDN this week released the newest video in their joint “Freedom to Serve, Freedom to Marry” campaign, featuring gay U.S. Marine Corps Captain Matthew Phelps and his soon-to-be husband Ben Schock. Captain Phelps and Schock previously made news when they became the first-ever same-sex couple to get engaged through a marriage proposal at the White House. For more information and to watch the video, click here.
OutServe Magazine Names New Editor-in-Chief. OutServe-SLDN, the publisher of OutServe Magazine, announced this week that Angelina Leger, an award winning multimedia artist with more than fifteen years of experience, has been named editor-in-chief of the publication, now in its third year of production. Previously, Leger served as operations and graphics director for the magazine, which is available bi-monthly in print and digital versions and focuses on news, advocacy, human interest, and travel for LGBT service members, as well as their families and supporters. For more, click here.
Join Us in Seattle on May 23 to Support OutServe-SLDN. Col. Grethe Cammermeyer, USA (Ret.), RADM Alan M. Steinman, USCG (Ret.), Matthew Phelps & Ben Schock, and Maj. Margaret Witt, USA (Ret.) invite you to join us for a reception honoring America's service members, veterans and their families. Click here to RSVP or make a contribution.
04-12-13 By Zeke Stokes, OutServe-SLDN Communications Director | Comment (0)
Registration Opens for 2013 International Leadership Conference. Registration is now open for the 2013 OutServe-SLDN International Leadership Conference and is open to all OutServe-SLDN members and supporters. This is a family-inclusive conference, and there will be activities planned throughout the weekend for children 12 and under. We encourage you to make your entire family a part of this exciting weekend. Get more details and register to attend here.
More U.S. Senators Support the Freedom to Marry. This week brought additional support for marriage equality from both Republican and Democratic members of the U.S. Senate. To read the latest, click here.
Navy Chaplain Officiates Same-Sex Marriage Ceremony. Last weekend, on Saturday, March 30, Jonathan Franqui and Navy Senior Chief Dwayne D. Beebe hosted their wedding ceremony among all of their loved ones at Old Christ Church in Pensacola, Florida. The couple met in 2011, had an instant connection, and have had a whirlwind romance ever since. They've fallen in love, been accepted into each other's family circles, and got engaged during the San Diego LGBT Pride Parade, the first Pride parade where gay and lesbian service members were authorized to wear their uniforms. Read more here.
OutServe-SLDN Nominated "Most Innovative Charity" by Logo Television. OutServe-SLDN is nominated to receive Logo Television's NewNowNext award in the category "Most Innovative Charity." Please cast your vote here and pass along the link to your friends, family, and colleagues.
04-05-13 By Zeke Stokes, OutServe-SLDN Communications Director | Comment (0)
Registration is now open for the 2013 OutServe-SLDN International Leadership Conference and is open to all OutServe-SLDN members and supporters. This is a family-inclusive conference, and there will be activities planned throughout the weekend for children 12 and under. We encourage you to make your entire family a part of this exciting weekend. Here's what else you need to know:
- The Conference will include panels and workshops dedicated to building a stronger and more inclusive military community. It will provide an opportunity for interacting with one another on a variety of timely and important issues.
- We have been able to cut the price nearly in half from last year's registration fee in order to make this as affordable as possible for as many as possible.
- There will be a host hotel - which we will announce shortly - and that rate is likely to be about $115 per night. Attendees will not be required to stay at the host hotel in order to register for and attend the conference, which will allow attendees to find and stay in more affordable places or even stay with friends and family in the area.
This is going to be bigger and better than ever, and we are looking forward to seeing you there. We will be announcing an exciting lineup of special guests, entertainment, and informative workshops to make this worth your trip.
04-04-13 By Zeke Stokes, OutServe-SLDN Communications Director | Comment (0)