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.
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.
“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.