SAN DIEGO -- Almost a week after demanding answers from the national board of directors of OutServe-SLDN, chapter leaders have reviewed the situation and decided to demand the resignation of the board leader who apparently tried to orchestra the ouster of the organization's transgender leader Allyson Robinson.
The chapter leaders issued a statement today that calls for the resignation of Josh Seefried, co-chair of the national board of directors and "coordinator of the process that led to requesting Allyson's resignation," the statement says.
The statement forcefully notes the public-relations disaster caused by last weekend's scandal over the attempt to remove Robinson as executive director. The coup attempt apparently failed when a number of board members and senior staffers quit in protest, and Robinson later issued her own statement saying that she would leave on her own terms at a time to be determined.
Some media outlets have reported that OutServe-SLDN is already suffering a loss of sponsors and revenue as a result of the scandal.
Here is the full statement issued today by the chapter leaders. The statement was not signed, but presumably it was by the same chapter leaders who signed a statement on June 24 demanding answers.
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.
Ken Williams is Editor in Chief of SDGLN. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, @KenSanDiego on Twitter, or by calling toll-free to 888-442-9639, ext. 713.