Meghan Stabler, a well known transgender activist has publicly condemned OutServe-SLDN board leadership’s perceived maltreatment of Allyson Robinson, the transgender executive director who they temporarily fired last weekend
The first public condemnation by a transgender activist of OutServe-SLDN’s board of directors’ awkward handling to temporarily fire Allyson Robinson, its executive director, who is also transgender, first emerged as a personal Facebook posting yesterday.
Ms. Stabler noticed that OutServe-SLDN opened the stock market on Friday morning sans Allyson Robinson, raising new concerns about the status of her situation within the organization that is in apparent crisis.
She posted the photograph to her Facebook wall with a note expressing grave concerns about the status of Robinson and the perceived maltreatment of a highly visible transgender person.
Ms. Stabler gave permission to The New Civil Rights Movement to post her note in its entirety. It follows:
Many of us are not sure of what occurred a week ago at the OS/SLDN board meeting, other than initial reports that Allyson was fired, board members resigned and staff quit. Then we hear that she is going to serve out some time, help with some transition and then leave on her own terms.
Many of us in the trans community are disgusted with the way that she has been treated. Then confused, but happy that it was reported that she would continue on a temporary basis as Executive Director until some ‘future date.’
On Friday OS/SLDN rang in the bell at the stock exchange, gleefully posting a photo of the historic event. However, Allyson was not here, shocking-eh? For the organization to leave her out was flagrantly obvious to the trans community, worse, it signaled that OS/SLDN had zero intention of her continuing as ED, and highlighting that Trans active duty and veterans could not count on inclusion moving forward under the current board leadership.
I posted a benign comment to their Facebook page photo of the event, as did a major donor to OS/SLDN, David Wells.
“Shame that the ED of OS/SLDN Allyson Robinson is not in the picture.”
At the same time, I had a nasty feeling in my stomach that although my comment was pure, non-insulting, but stating the obvious, — that their ED was not there, it would be deleted. It was. As has David’s. But I had gone back and taken a screen grab of the Outserve – SLDN Facebook page. To top it, and much like the approach of NOM on their FB page, neither David or I are able to comment on the Outserve – SLDN facebook page from now on.
What does it signal, when a respected organization, beloved by so many, stoops to the lows that it is at now?
Their approach, whether directed by board co-chair Josh Seefried, (who is a personal friend of mine), or others, is reprehensible. In military jargon I would call it, ‘dishonorable’. Unfortunately it shows a lack of maturity of an organization that was hailed as so heroic leading up to the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. It was an organization taking on new challenges and opportunities under Allyson’s leadership. An organization that was offering hope to those still serving, and especially to those trans people currently serving under today’s Trans version of DADT via military regulations. But now, that hope is no longer visible via OS/SLDN and it’s current leadership.
Just yesterday, 14 OutServe-SLDN chapter leaders, representing 4,000 members, called for the resignation of Josh Seefried, a board of directors, co-chair, who initiated the firing of Robinson on June 23rd and was subsequently reversed the following day.
All senior staff have resigned, including three board members, including Brenda Sue Fulton, Beth Schissel and Sharon Lettman-Hicks.
The only statement issued to date by the OutServe-SLDN board of directors occurred on June 24th.
Significant challenges remain for LGBT people serving in the military–there is currently no protections for sexual orientation status while serving and transgender persons remain barred to service due to medical disqualification.
Image of Outserve-SLDN members ringing the New York Stock Exchange and the Facebook page where it was posted is courtesy via Meghan Stabler.
Tanya L. Domi is the Deputy Editor of the New Civil Rights Movement. She is also an Adjunct Assistant Professor of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University and teaches human rights in East Central Europe and former Yugoslavia. Prior to teaching at Columbia, Domi was a nationally recognized LGBT civil rights activist who worked for the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force during the campaign to lift the military ban in the early 1990s.
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