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Transgender Army veteran tapped to lead LGBT military advocacy group

Thursday, October 25, 2012

A transgender Army veteran has been named to head the newly combined organization advocating for the interests of LGBT service members.

Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) and OutServe, the association of actively serving LGBT military personnel, on Thursday announced the selection of Allyson Robinson to lead the newly combined organization. Robinson assumes the post as the two organizations are slated to finalize their combination this weekend.

Allyson Robinson

A combining of the two organizations was announced in July.

“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,” said Robinson, who is departing from her current position at Human Rights Campaign (HRC).

“Until they are guaranteed equal opportunity, recognition, support, and benefits, our mission is incomplete. We cannot and will not leave them behind,” she said.

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.

Most recently, as the first Deputy Director for Employee Programs of the HRC Foundation’s Workplace Project, Robinson drove the design and delivery of HRC’s broad portfolio of training and curricula for corporate leadership and employee audiences to improve LGBT cultural competence and inclusion in the workplace.

She lives with her wife of 18 years and their four children in Gaithersburg, Md.

“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,’” said April Heinze, retired Navy captain and co-chair of the SLDN Board of Directors.

Robinson has been with HRC since 2007, currently serving as the Workplace Project Deputy Director for Learning and Development.

“The LGBT rights movement is made stronger by the inspired appointment of Allyson Robinson as head of a critically important organization,” said HRC President Chad Griffin.

“As a West Point graduate, experienced officer and movement leader, she brings her extensive knowledge of the issues to this new assignment. What I admire most about Allyson is that she leads with her heart and that quality will serve our troops and veterans extraordinarily well as we continue the fight for full equality,” said Griffin.

Robinson has vowed to continue the work necessary to bringing about full LGBT equality in the military.

“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,” she said.

The combined SLDN and OutServe organization currently boasts 6,000 members worldwide.

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8 more reader comments:

  1. Wow this is great !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

    Posted on Thursday, October 25, 2012 at 5:26pm
  2. And something that a Thurston Presidency would NEVER have. Kudos to smart progress!!!

    Posted on Thursday, October 25, 2012 at 5:29pm
  3. There’s something so cool about the idea of a Transgender Army kicking the asses of pretty much everyone as we take over the world and make “normal” people into our slaves. Oh, we’ll. Dare to dream..

    Posted on Thursday, October 25, 2012 at 6:18pm
  4. I uh… even with the quotations, I don’t like the usage of normal. |: I understand the usage and what you meant by it, but I still don’t like it being used in any manner that implies transgender individuals are anything but normal – even when used to emphasize a point that others view TG/TS as not normal. I can go into a long rant to further reiterate on this, but I think my point is pretty much there.

    Posted on Thursday, October 25, 2012 at 6:57pm
  5. Normal? Slavery? That is why us “normal” people cannot accept the choices and labor of something like this. Cause of this “all about me” mentality. Grow up will you.

    Posted on Thursday, October 25, 2012 at 7:14pm
  6. Wow, Jerry. Just wow. In the chance you aren’t familiar with transgender issues, please go do some research on them, because there is a long list of things that need to be addressed and equalized and this “all about me” mentality you mentioned is actually the problem of the offending party, not those who are transgender – though I won’t deny there are those who are all about me. I can’t say I’ve met any, though. These are issues that might concern a neighbor, a fellow citizen, or pretty much anyone. You should put yourself in our shoes and actually try to understand how hard it is to be transgender and how you wouldn’t want inequality towards your own freedom. It’s not like it used to be – or so I hear – but it’s far from being decent in many parts of the United States. Folks see someone saying how hard the struggle is or how people generally treat them poorly and automatically make negative assumptions without proper knowledge of the matter. A milestone is made and something positive happens and there are still haters, because they lack the understanding of equality and need for equality in this matter, because it doesn’t seem like a big deal to them. “It’s a cry for attention.” That would be true if this cry for attention is also accompanied by the need of basic human rights. Like for example, not having to ever worried being denied medical assistance. I believe that is rather uncommon, but it’s happened and I shouldn’t ever have to be afraid of an emergency and someone completely ignoring it because I’m MTF and I’m left to well… die. There takes alot to be heard and to be recognized, because of the mindset that many have adopted – there are so many people who are ignorant and refuse to see outside of their usual hetero-normative eyes and/or outside of their own selfish little world. Heck, that’s in most situations not at all related to transgenderism, really. Being transgender isn’t attention seeking. It is not simple. IT IS NOT EASY. Please, if you believe it’s no big deal…I agree in the manner that it shouldn’t be, because TG/TS individuals are like everyone else. Should be treated like everyone else. But, there is always someone who refuses to acknowledge that we just want to be what we should’ve been and left alone to our private lives.

    Posted on Thursday, October 25, 2012 at 7:38pm
  7. Everyone wants to be a special snowflake, and no one wants to grow up and be part of a collective. Well spoken, Nissen.

    Posted on Thursday, October 25, 2012 at 7:54pm
  8. that was amazingly eloquent..i applaud you nissen..very well spoken and heartwarming. :D

    Posted on Friday, October 26, 2012 at 1:33am