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OutServe-S​LDN Leaders Demand Removal of Josh Seefried After Allyson Robinson Coup d’état

OutServe-SLDN chapter leaders are demanding the removal of Josh Seefreid (above) from their board and expecting his resignation immediately after a possible transphobic coup d’état in which he sneakily orchestrated the removal of Executive Director Allyson Robinson for his own benefit

Bil Browning of The Bilerico Project originally broke the story when he came into possession on a leaked email of the coup by Seefreid sent to BP.  Robinson was the only transgender leader of a major LGBT organization that is not specifically trans-related.

Although no one would speak on the record about the reasons for the board’s decision to seek Robinson’s resignation, sources familiar with the board’s decision expressed the possibility of anti-transgender bias.

The coalition of chapter leaders is demanding that Seefried step down from the leadership of the organization, saying his recent actions have “damaged OS-SLDN’s reputation as a leader in the LGBT community and as an advocate for the transgender military community.”

The chapter leaders’ mutiny comes as no surprise, however, since over a dozen leaders had previously demanded to see items from the board meeting that led to Robinson’s ouster – including board minutes, financial statements, and more; claiming they controlled a large chunk of the membership, the coalition threatened to bolt if the org’s leadership didn’t provide the documents. But chapter leaders weren’t happy with what was provided prompting one source involved to call the documents “obviously massaged data.”

Seefried was also in the news recently along publicly criticizing San Francisco Pride after the announcement that trans identifying wikileaks whistleblower Bradley Manning was “mistakenly” chosen as Grand Marshall.

STATEMENT FROM THE COALITION OF CHAPTER LEADERS

This week, OutServe-SLDN’s mission of full equality in the military was set back by the abrupt attempt to dismiss Executive Director Allyson Robinson. The cause was attributed to the current financial state of the organization, but that crisis was never disclosed to the general membership, nor was a call to action asking for help. Two statements were released three days after initial leaks reported these events.

This entire episode has damaged OS-SLDN’s reputation as a leader in the LGBT community and as an advocate for the transgender military community. Donors and sponsors have indicated that Allyson’s loss makes them think twice about contributing to our organization. The loss of key board members and staff who resigned in protest due to the Board’s method of approaching Allyson has damaged OS-SLDN’s operational capability.

In sum, this episode was the result of a reckless attempt to save money without considering the consequences and it has had a clear detrimental impact on the organization, including our future ability to advocate effectively for the LGB and transgender military communities.

It is our view, after reviewing the situation and options available, that the best way forward is to address the problems within the leadership. We will be asking for the resignation of Josh Seefried, Co-Chair of the OS-SLDN Board of Directors and coordinator of the process that led to requesting Allyson’s resignation.

If OS-SLDN is to survive, we need change immediately. We need transparency and honesty. We need clear communication that comes from the top of the organization and directly addresses the membership.

We need to react and repair the damage that has been done by the Board of Directors.

OS-SLDN is a membership-based organization. Without the members, it cannot exist. We are committed to improving this by ensuring that membership has an ever-present voice and the opportunity to participate in the governance of OS-SLDN.

Most importantly, we are unequivocally dedicated to bringing about full LGBT equality to America’s military, veterans, and our families, to include ending all forms of discrimination and harassment of military personnel on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity

 

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Will Kohler

Will Kohler is a noted LGBT historian, writer, blogger and owner of Back2Stonewall.com. A longtime gay activist, Will fought on the front lines of the AIDS epidemic with ACT-UP and continues fighting today for LGBT acceptance and full equality. Will’s work has been referenced in notable media venues as MSNBC and BBC News, The Washington Post, The Advocate, The Daily Beast, Hollywood Reporter, Raw Story, and The Huffington Post

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