WASHINGTON – OutServe-SLDN finds itself in a pickle today following the board’s apparent ouster of executive director Allyson Robinson, the first transgender leader of a major LGBT organization.
OutServe-SLDN essentially fired Robinson on Saturday, according to several news sources, and the sudden upheaval prompted several staff members and at least three board members to resign.
Robinson did not immediately return an email to her Facebook account requesting further information about this apparently fluid situation.
An LGBT military activist who has been following the organization for several years, including through the merger of OutServe and SLDN, told San Diego Gay & Lesbian News on Sunday morning that OutServe-SLDN "is a hot mess." He said the organization is struggling financially and that the current board makeup is full of inexperienced directors. He asked not to be identified while providing background on the developing story.
Sue Fulton resigned from the board immediately following Robinson’s ouster and said that board co-chair Josh Seefried pushed the vote through on Saturday. Board members Matthew Phelps and Beth Schissel also quit, according to several media reports. But Americablog contended that Fulton was in support of removing Robinson from her job, except that Fulton didn't like the expedited method the board chose to use.
Zeke Stokes, the organization’s director of external relations, quit Saturday night, according to BuzzFeed, which obtained an email written by Stokes:
Today, the Board of Directors made decisions that have compromised the trust I had placed in it heretofore. They have chosen a direction that is inconsistent with what I believe is necessary to secure a successful future for the organization. In doing so, they have for the foreseeable future sacrificed the viability of the mission.
For that reason, I can no longer represent OutServe-SLDN to the public or to our members and donors. Thus, effective today, I have resigned as a member of the staff and wish to no longer be affiliated with the organization.
Others who resigned included Gary Espinas, the director of chapter and member services, and Legal Director David McKean, although his resignation is pending resolution of ongoing legal commitments, BuzzFeed reported. In addition, Bilerico Project said that Gary Espinas, director of Chapter and Members Services, also resigned.
Americablog suggested that Robinson's ouster had something to do with her forcing out Francisco Ramirez, the longtime CFO of the organization.
As of Sunday morning, OutServe-SLDN remained silent about what transpired Saturday at the board meeting.