Almost a year after Don’t Ask Don’t Tell was tossed into history’s dustbin, the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) and OutServe, the association of active LGBT military personnel, are combining into one Voltron-like super-organization.
“SLDN has enjoyed a close working relationship with OutServe and its leaders from the beginning. Indeed, their voices, though anonymous at the time, were an integral part of the fight to repeal the discriminatory ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ law,” SLDN Board of Directors Co-Chair Mike Magee. “Since repeal, we’ve worked even more closely together and in doing so, it has become more and more clear that our shared mission—representing actively serving military and veterans, as well as fighting to achieve full LGBT equality in the military—is better accomplished by uniting.”
SLDN and OutServe have also announced an official celebration for the repeal’s first anniversary, being held on September 18 aboard the the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in New York. Retired Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen—whose congressional testimony was pivotal in the repeal process—will be honored.
“While we know there is more work to be done before full LGBT military equality is achieved, it’s important that we pause to pay tribute to how far we have come—and to those who have helped us get here,” says SLDN Executive Director Aubrey Sarvis.
The groups have also launched an online toolkit where supporters can post their events and download info for use before and during the anniversary, taking place September 18 through 23. The repeal was officially enacted on September 20, 2011.
“Even if they can’t be with us in New York City, [people] will be able to host and join celebrations in their own communities—whether it’s in their home, at a community center, or in a local bar during the week of repeal,” OutServe co-director Josh Seefried said.