OutServe-SLDN have announced that Army veteran, wife of eighteen years and mother of four Allyson Robinson will head the newly merged groups. The two LGBT activist groups serve the same group of people, namely LGBT service members, veterans and their families.
Former Marine Captain Anu Bhagwati, the head of Service Women’s Action Network, stated “As longtime allies of OutServe and SLDN, we are thrilled to learn of Allyson’s appointment. As we continue to struggle for equality for LGBT service members and veterans, we need brave, dynamic leaders committed to fighting for the right to serve in uniform, free from harassment and discrimination. Allyson’s combination of exemplary military experience and effective LGBT organizing make her the perfect choice.”
Robinson left the military in 1999 in order to pursue a calling in the ministry and focusing on social justice; however, the 1994 West Point graduate has her degree in physics and lists among her professional military accomplishments work at Los Alamos National Laboratory, servicing as a senior advisor for NATO and commanding Patriot missle units in the US, Germany and Saudi Arabia. According to SWAN “Most recently, Ms. Robinson served as head of the Human Rights Workplace Project at the Human Rights Campaign, developing LGBT cultural competency programming for corporations.”
Ms Robinson is a trans woman, and is dedicated to working for transgender inclusion in the professional world, and that includes the military.
Bhagwati stated as well “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell may have happened a year ago, but we still have a military that treats LGB service members and their families like second-class citizens, and bars transgender people from serving at all. Ms. Robinson’s leadership, experience and skill come to this movement at very critical time. She has SWAN’s complete support, and we can’t wait to begin working with her.”
Robinson stated “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.”
According to Outserve-SDLN:
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.
Naval Captain (retired) April Heinze, the co-chair of the SLDN Board of Directors, stated “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.’”
Robinson stated “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.”
With regards to the trans people in the military, Robinson stated “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.”
SLDN stated “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.”
Lieutenant Josh Seefried, the co-founder and co-director of OutServe stated “From the moment I met Allyson, I knew she was the right leader for OutServe-SLDN. 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,”
Applauds over the appointment of Robinson have come in.
Michael Magee, SLDN Board of Directors Co-Chair stated “Allyson’s exceptional résumé, her experience in the LGBT movement, and her milItary credentials have prepared her well for the task ahead of us. We need a leader of her caliber in this important role as we take the next steps toward our ultimate goal, which is securing full LGBT equality in our military.”
Aubrey Sarvis, the outgoing SLDN Executive Director and Army veteran, stated “Allyson will bring a new perspective and enthusiasm – as well as a deep commitment – as we enter the next phase of the fight for full LGBT equality in the armed forces.”
President of the Human Rights Campaign Chad Griffin said “Allyson Robinson is strategic, passionate, and committed. She’s the right person to lead this organization. She’s a graduate of West Point and a decorated military officer, which makes her uniquely qualified for this position.”
Sue Fulton, West Point ‘80 graduate and executive director of Knights Out, said “We have a lot of work ahead of us to achieve full equality for LGBT service members and their families, and we need a strategic, smart, dynamic leader who is strong both inside and outside the Beltway. Allyson fits the bill perfectly. It’s been a joy to work with her. She understands the importance of faith and family, especially within the LGBT and military communities, and will be able to get things done.”
Former Army Captain Jonathan Hopkins, a Knights Out Board member, stated “Allyson Robinson represents the finest values of West Point and the Army: courage, integrity, and selfless service. I am confident that she will be tireless in her mission to ensure that LGBT service members, veterans, and their families are treated on an equal footing with their straight counterparts.”