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OutServe Named ERG of the Year at Out & Equal Summit

For immediate release:
Thursday, November 1, 2012

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

OutServe named Employee Resource Group of the Year at Prestigious Out & Equal Workplace Awards

(Baltimore, MD) The Out & Equal Workplace Awards - known as the "Outies" - recognize individuals and organizations who are leaders in advancing equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in workplaces across the world. Tonight, the organization named OutServe, the association of actively serving LGBT military personnel, as its LGBT Employee Resource Group of the Year at the group's annual award ceremony, held in Baltimore. The award recognizes a particular ERG, sometimes referred to as a business group or network, with an exemplary track record of leadership in advocating for LGBT equal rights over the past year. Other finalists were ERGs from IBM Canada, Morgan Stanley, and Wells Fargo. 

"It’s an honor to accept this award on behalf of six thousand LGBT service members who make up OutServe. I’m so proud of the organization we began while still serving in silence and have built to the largest LGBT Employee Resource Group in the country. More than that, I’m excited about the future, as I move to the position of Board Co-Chair of our newly combined organization, OutServe-SLDN, and we bring on a new Executive Director," said Josh Seefried, co-founder and previously co-director of OutServe.

Seefried, who now serves as co-chair of the board of directors of OutServe-SLDN, introduced Allyson Robinson, named last week to lead the new organization as its first Executive Director.  It was also announced last week that the planned combination of OutServe and Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) is set to be finalized.  

"As an Army veteran and a veteran of this movement, I am humbled by the daily sacrifice of soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen who not only serve the country they love, but chose to do so despite the extraordinary burden of 'Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.' I am so proud of the role OutServe and SLDN played in putting an end to that law once and for all," said Robinson, who went on to focus her remarks on the work ahead to achieve full LGBT equality in the military.

"LGBT service members still carry extraordinary burdens. They fight for our freedoms while their family members still do not have the benefits that straight military spouses have. They don’t have Equal Opportunity protections. Our trans brothers and sisters still serve in silence, barred from legal, open service. And our veterans still carry the stigma of so-called “homosexual” discharges," she said.

Individuals and companies were nominated for the award earlier this year. A selection committee determined the finalists for the each award, which were anounced in August 2012. An independent panel of business and community leaders will determine the winners based on information and references provided for each finalist.

The Out & Equal Workplace Summit, currently ongoing, brings together 3,000 business leaders, human resources and diversity professionals, employee resource group leaders, executive sponsors, LGBT employees and allies for a three day conference to examine issues of sexual orientation and gender identity in the workplace. Long considered the leading conference on the topic, the event features more than 100 workshops, panels and speakers, along with cultural programming and entertainment. For more information about the Summit, visit www.outandequal.org/summit-2012.

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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.

About Out & Equal: Founded in 1998 by Executive Director Selisse Berry, Out & Equal Workplace Advocates is the leading champion for fully inclusive workplace equality that convenes, influences and inspires global employers and their lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) and allied employees. We believe that workplace changes can lead to broader cultural changes through the passion, wisdom, and energy of like-minded individuals and organizations. It is our vision that all LGBT people should be free to be open, authentic, and productive at work.

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