With OutServe-SLDN in financial ruin, we deserve the rest of the story

I’d written a week ago about the turmoil over at the nation’s premiere “gays in the military” group, OutServe-SLDN.

For reasons yet not fully disclosed, the board of directors apparently had been discussing whether to fire, or ask to resign, relatively-new Executive Director Allyson Robinson.  That fact was leaked by Robinson’s defenders, then all hell broke loose.

Some local chapters threatened to break off from the main organization, and three members of the board of directors resigned in protest (though the rest stayed on).  And now, several chapters are reportedly demanding that the entire board be fired, and replaced with a board more to their liking.  All the while, none of the blame is being placed on Robinson herself.

At the same time, Robinson’s advocates are now suggesting that she was fired because she’s transgender, though they’ve offered no further explanation for why they believe this. Bilerico has a letter that Robinson’s defenders sent to the board on June 29.  In it, they repeatedly raise the trans issue, and then ask the following question :

The reputation of OutServe-SLDN has now been irreparably damaged by the lack of communication immediately following the initial leak and the failure to directly address the question – “Was she fired because she is transgender?”

At first blush, it would seem odd for an organization to hire an openly-trans person as its executive director, only to nine months later fire that same person for being trans.  If OutServe-SLDN were that anti-trans, you’d think they would simply not hire a trans ED in the first place.  But, you never know, so let’s explore this line of argument a little further.

Allyson Robinson SLDN ED

Allyson Robinson, new
executive director of OutServe-SLDN

If OutServe-SLDN’s board were firing Robinson for being trans, then surely there is no independent, legitimate reason the board might have had for questioning Robinson’s stewardship of the organization.  But of course, we now know that one such reason does exist, even though the leakers hid it from us until now: under Allyson Robinson’s stewardship OutServe-SLDN is now, for all intents and purposes, bankrupt.

Running an organization into bankruptcy is certainly grounds for considering whether the executive director should leave.

Of course, we don’t know if Robinson was responsible for OutServe-SLDN’s financial quagmire.  Mostly, because no one but Robinson’s defenders are leaking to the blogs and the media, and they didn’t even tell us that the organization was in financial trouble in the first place.

We don’t know, for instance, if SLDN was already in monetary trouble when Robinson got there. It must be difficult fundraising for an organization that’s “already won” from the perspective of many prospective donors.  And even if the finances already were in trouble, we don’t know the extent of the problem, whether the financial situation worsened under Robinson’s tenure, how she responded to the looming financial crisis, and whether she kept the board fully informed of the problem.  Perhaps she was the hero of an already sinking ship. Or perhaps she sunk the ship. The board of directors knows the truth, and Robinson herself knows the truth, but no one is as of yet leaking those details, which go to the very heart of whether her dismal was being considered because of her gender identity or because of fiscal mismanagement.

What we do know is that a little over one month ago, on May 21, 2013, OutServe-SLDN’s longtime Chief Financial Officer Francisco “Pancho” Ramirez resigned.  And in his letter of resignation he praised the entire board of directors and former SLDN leaders Dixon Osborne and Aubrey Sarvis.

The person Ramirez did not mention in his mysterious letter of resignation?  Executive Director Allyson Robinson.

I suppose it’s possible that Ramirez, too, was part of the alleged anti-trans conspiracy.  Though if Ramirez were anti-trans, why wouldn’t he attempt to force Robinson out rather than sacrificing his own job at the organization?

Or, perhaps, the fact that the CFO of a major organization resigned, one month before it is revealed that the organization is bankrupt, has something to do with why the board of directors was talking about asking the executive director to leave.

Sometimes people get fired because they’re gay, or bi or trans.  And sometimes they get fired because they deserve it.  At this point, only Allyson Robinson’s defenders are talking publicly.  And we know they’re not telling us the whole story.

It would behoove OutServe-SLDN to come clean and tell us what happened – the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.  And let the chips fall where they may.  Because this one-sided whisper campaign is destroying what was once two great organizations.  The whispering needs to stop.  It’s time for the truth.

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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43 Responses to “With OutServe-SLDN in financial ruin, we deserve the rest of the story”

  1. Stev84 says:

    It didn’t apply to DADT, because DADT didn’t apply to transsexuality in of itself (although it still affected trans people of course). It’s banned by internal medical regulations, not by law.

  2. http://www.buzzfeed.com/chrisgeidner/lgbt-military-group-to-choose-new-board-board-co-chair-at-ce?s=mobile
    I should correct myself. Chris Geidner is the closest the LGBT community gets to journalism.

  3. Michael Terrill says:

    I agree with you completely. There was a cramdown of certain beliefs, such as the notion that LGBs and Ts are not just allies but rather that they form some organic entity called “LGBT people” which inextricably links all of their interests. That was done in the late 1990s/early 2000 without any pretense of debate or discussion.

    The second part of the cramdown is that no gay civil rights are worth having unless they come packaged with provisions covering cross-dressing and transsexual bathroom options. This is an amazing, novel proposition, which somehow eluded the gay civil rights movement for 30-35 years. And then, overnight, it became a mandatory belief. This, of course, destroyed ENDA, leaving millions of LGB workers (including LGB workers who also happen to be T) exposed to discrimination.

    For some reason, this moral imperative was suspended for DADT. Which isn’t really a problem, since the entire doctrine is created by fiat, and thus there need not be any logic or consistency in its application. You can be sure that if Ms. Robinson and the other adherents to the LGBT theology had had their way, repeal of DADT would have been packaged with a non-negotiable demand for a repeal of all military limitations on “gender expresion” and we would still have DADT in effect today.

    I really respect you for writing that 2007 piece, which absolutely has held up well. The truth usually does. That having been said, I wish that you would not allow the “outrage crowd” to intimidate you. The dirty little secret is that the “outrage crowd” on this issue is no crowd at all. There are probably no more than 200 bona fide trans activists in the entire country. And the kooky ones – the ones who want to shut down opposing views – likely comprise no more than 2 to 3 dozen individuals.

    A tiny group, under-resourced and spread out across the country, they have nothing but name-calling and nastiness on the internet and sporadically a demo garnering a dozen people. I was at a small dinner party last week in a one-bedroom apartment and there were more people there than have ever attended any trans-specific protest anywhere in the US anytime in history. The point is: this is not a crowd that should intimidate you or anyone else. . They can only intimidate you if you allow them to by exaggerating their importance in your mind. Once you look objectively at the reality of their paltry numbers and once you further reject the notion that they speak from any moral authority, as opposed to naked self-interest, there is no reason to be intimidated. Please keep telling the truth. It is the best thing about you and AmericaBlog.

  4. Meow?

    Seriously, misogyny much?

    I still state one will not find the answers in this or any gay media outlet. That was my simple and quite polite point. I will concur with your point, that power comes from knowing what you don’t know, and with thinking it through.

    However, your very title suggest otherwise. Its a call for answers, while it asks for more information to be revealed and asks for the readership to think it through. That very fact broadcasts to everyone, those answers are not here.

    So my point about investigative journalism is that it is dead in the gay media. Even papers like the Blade (with strong online presences, because, well, print is effectively dead) do not get the full story on so much.

    I can admit it continues nothing to the storyline of what happened at OS/SLDN, but everything to the call for clarity.

    As you remarked, we sometimes receive insight from sources which have asked not to be disclosed, sharing information with us for its powerful background to the story. I too have received information not only about the yet still murky details of the ill fated Saturday board meeting, but deeper background about event before Allyson Robinson was even hired.

    If you and I shared privately that information we both would still not know. Maybe its more practical to write about why LGBT organizations don’t have ANY out transgender employees, let alone leadership

    You may wish to attack me instead the issue, but the issue remains…

  5. Perhaps this is the best response to a comment suggesting that all blogs are per se untrustworthy and per se have bad info:

    RT @Bree_G88: @aravosis I used 1 of your blog articles when trying 2 prove a point yesterday. (About how the FRC and their “studies”.) I won. Ha! Thank u

  6. Meow. Sorry, Jenna, but I believe in the value of making people think things through. There’s been a very public about this SLDN debacle without people thinking things through. I therefore decided to walk through the issue, using my legal training to break into down as much as possible, and hopefully helping people to understand what exactly we don’t know yet. And as anyone will tell you, one of the signs of true wisdom is knowing what you don’t know. So yeah, I think asking questions, finding the nuance, illuminating what isn’t yet known, is helpful.

    Oh, and just because I don’t tell you what’s really happening doesn’t mean I don’t know what’s really happening. Sometimes sources are only willing to speak to you off the record. And that’s their choice. I can’t report on something if the sources are respecting a vow of silence.

    But once again let me go back to: Meow. You could have said so much of that, in both comments, politely, rather than fuming mad.

  7. Well, I’m not going to get into any of the specifics you list, but one point is interesting – that gay people don’t feel any special obligation to get trans rights laws passed. Some do, but many don’t. And it’s a problem trans people will often bring up. Ironically, that was one of the main points in my Salon piece I wrote back in 2007, about the ENDA debacle – a piece the “outrage” crowd regularly bring up, and which has stood the test of time quite well. I noted that a lot of gay people have a lot of remaining questions about trans issues, and not just about ENDA. And if we can’t talk about, discuss, these things publicly, without being excoriated and then shut down by the “outrage” police, then issues will never be fully resolved, and when push comes to shove the people who were shut down won’t be there for you because they’ve never had their questions addressed. It’s the downside of shutting down debate – whether it’s about the T being added on to the LGB, or about Snowden, or about Trayvon Martin, or Paula Deen, or whatever social issue topic. If you shut people down for not toeing the line 100%, then they may shut up, but in their hearts they still won’t agree with you. And while sometimes getting them to shut up is to your long-term benefit, other times shutting someone up comes back to bite you in the ass when you need their help and they still don’t 100% get your point.

  8. Yes and yes. She could have had no role in making things worse, or she could have had every role, depending on her involvement in the fundraising process, which I’ve always been told is a huge part of an ED’s job.

  9. Thanks John, welcome to the year 1879. Before wireless communication where folk actual read and debated content, not gleefully engage in argumentum ad hominem.

    Should you chose to reread my comment, you will find I am making a statement about the medium, not necessarily the messenger. As a commenter and not the provider of the content, I have that freedom. It is a reaction, feedback to the use of blogging to seek answers without working for them.

    We don’t read content in its entirety, instead, as we have been conditioned by the medium to do, we skip to and fro seeking chunks of information and hyperlinks to more content without digesting everything.

    There is nothing wrong with running a social commentary site. It fills a niche. Please don’t be offended when readers treat it like one.

    So, you have 28 years of contacts built up in a city with rotates people in and out more frequently than the McDonald’s on South Capital street after a Nat’s game. How about using them and those relationships and bring us the real story, then you can really shut me up…

  10. jag43 says:

    As the CEO (ED for nonprofits), Robinson got to walk the plank for the failure of the organization, even if she had no knowledge of the problem or complicity in causing it. That’s why chiefs get the big bucks and the big visibility.

  11. Stev84 says:

    And you show again that you are the fucking idiot I always knew you to be

  12. prospero761 says:

    It takes more than nine months to drive a solvent NPO into bankruptcy, unless it was already well on its way. The resignation of the CFO speaks volumes to what was probably already going on. Be that as it may, if Robinson’s leadership did nothing to stem the financial hemorrhaging, then they were just in letting her go.

  13. Phil says:

    One thing LGBT organizations have never been good at is adopting their missions as they achieve their goals. I am not saying that the undoing of DADT is finished by any means, but many of the major hurdles are passed and when that happens, donations dwindle somewhat as a type of complacency takes hold of the organizations consituents and its board. Success sometimes spells the end of the most influential of organizations.

  14. No, sometimes your stuff is good and other times it’s confusing.

  15. Hi Jenna, welcome to the year 2002. You do realize that a “blog” is a web site. And there’s nothing inherently inaccurate about a Web site. It’s just computer code. The notion that “you can’t trust anything on a blog” went out years ago when a lot of blogs became professional outfits. As for no gay media outlet having contacts that they’ve built over the years, that’s not true. Did I somehow lose my contacts I built up over 28 years of living in DC when I started a blog? The real problem is that we don’t have that many good gay outlets left because everyone has gone bankrupt.

  16. Michael Terrill says:

    SLDN is faced with the same issue that ESPA confronted in NY. ESPA has acheived its main LGB goals – anti-discrimination laws, anti-bullying laws, hate crimes and marriage. At this point, their legislative agenda for gay people consists mostly of ensuring annual AIDS funding and some relatively small grants for various non-profits. That is not enough to sustain the organization at anything like its current size.

    In 2011, they had several options. They could have downsized and focused on this ongoing, but limited legislative agenda. They could have focused on helping struggling gays in nearby states like PA and NJ. They could have refocused as a DC-based group, which one faction wanted to do. Or they could have elevated “transgender” issues and made that their new priority.

    Disastrously, they chose this last option. But as they quickly discovered, LGB and T are really two different things, even if the politically contrived terminology insists otherwise. Seems that LGBs do not have as their top priority in life taxpayer subsidized hormone treatments for incarcerated murderers. And while most LGBs probably support trans inclusion in anti-discrimination laws (I do), they don’t have any special obligation as gay people to get such legislation passed, particularly since trans activists actively oppose gay rights when they aren’t bundled with “gender identity”. Accordingly, since trans people never funded ESPA to begin with and don’t fund any organizations anyway, ESPA’s fundraising promptly collapsed and they have failed to get their “trans” agenda passed.

    SLDN should have stayed focused on cleaning up the last remnants of DADT. Instead they sought new life in an oasis called “LGBT” which proved to be nothing more than a mirage..

  17. Michael Terrill says:

    One of the most important functions of an ED is to be able to reach out to donors and raise money. There is no evidence that a trans activists have any ability to do this. There are no trans donors that fund “LGBT” organizations to any significant degree. You can scour all the donors in all the marriage campaigns in CA, MD, MN, ME, and WA. You won’t find any trans activists on those lists.

    Trans activist Joanne Herman has publicly admitted that trans activists cannot and do not raise money in any significant amounts. Indeed, she points out that the cumulative budgets of the top trans-only organziations combined is only a couple million dollars, and a good chunk of that comes from LGBs.

    Given this, is it any surprise that this trans activist can’t bring in money for SLDN? And beyond the non-existent trans donors, why would any LGB individual tender money to this group? The right of heterosexual trans people to indulge in “gender expression” on military bases is completely distinct from the issue of LGB service. A very good case can be made that SLDN should focus on the latter and leave the former to a different group.

    “LGBT” has never been about LGBs and Ts working together for a common purpose; it is uniformly about LGBs funding trans activists (who are overwhelmingly heterosexual-identified) and getting nothing in return but dissension, hostility and organizational decline. When this one-way arrangement is challenged, trans activists defend it ferociously, the way the mafia might jealously safeguard a lucrative protection racket. The best way to keep the critics in line and the trans activists ensconced is to hurl accusations of conspiracies and “transphobia.” If we were smart and had a sense of our own best interests, we would wear these charges like a badge of honor.

  18. Michael Bedwell says:

    You can lead a blogger to water, but you can’t…………

  19. Michael Bedwell says:

    @ Stev84: In addition to being too cowardly to even post under your real name, calling my post “rants” doesn’t equate to disproving what I write. Your post above asserting that SLDN had nothing to do after DADT repeal just proves what an f-ing idiot you are. FAIL.

  20. “We need to know the truth about what happened, and getting it from leaks from just one side isn’t going to lead to that truth. It is however effectively destroying this organization.”

    That requires investigative journalism, with solid sources willing to talk because there has been a relationship forged between the source and the journalist.

    One will not find that on a blog. Unfortunately, one will not find it in any gay media outlet.

    I seriously hope no one is expecting the truth to be revealed on this or any other blog. Commentary and suspect analysis are your likely hand.

  21. VUnearithe42 says:

    мy coυѕιɴ ιѕ мαĸιɴɢ $51/нoυr oɴlιɴe. υɴeмployed ғor α coυple oғ yeαrѕ αɴd prevιoυѕ yeαr ѕнe ɢoт α $1З619cнecĸ wιтн oɴlιɴe joв ғor α coυple oғ dαyѕ. ѕee мore αт…­ ­ViewMore——————————————&#46qr&#46net/kkEj

    this is something the lgbt
    community does not need right now, step up people and put personal
    feelings aside and see the long term ramifications, for crying out loud
    you’re acting just like the heteros.

  22. Stev84 says:

    SLDN has long had a professional staff complemented by volunteers. But as has been pointed out, their whole purpose was the legal defense of people affected by DADT and advocacy for repeal. With DADT gone and now DOMA gone, they have little purpose anymore. I have no trouble believing that they had great difficulties getting money.

    Which is exactly why they merged with OutServe. But that then was far more like the volunteer organization you describe. Not that much more than a collection of people hanging out together. At the core they are really just their local chapters. Again, hard to get much money for the overall organization.

  23. Stev84 says:

    I can guarantee you, when gays have full legal equality in all states and at all levels of government and society, Michael Bedwell would still find something to complain about bitterly. It’s all he ever does.

  24. karmanot says:

    Bingo…that describes to perfection our local HIV/AIDS Food Bank. Once a few million dollar endowments occurred it went from grass roots to high society wine country expensive ‘special events’ charity.

  25. nicho says:

    Over the years, I’ve been involved with several LGBT organizations that started out as volunteer groups where everyone worked their asses off. Then, someone would get the bright idea that they needed “professional” management of some kind. That’s when the politician/managers would flock in. While the volunteers were still working their asses off, the “managers” would become adept at taking meetings, talking on the phone, walking around with file folders. In a couple of places, the atmosphere become so politically charged that a lot of the volunteers would just walk. (I did on a couple of occasions. I hate office politics.) In another couple of cases, the “professional” managers just ran the place into the ground through ineptitude. And, at least in two places, they just walked away with the money and the groups went belly up. A few survived and thrived, but the minute I see the “managers” show up, I start to worry.

  26. Ok I don’t know what that was about.

  27. icanthink4myself says:

    That was my question. Logically, it seems that it was probably one of the board members who resigned with Robinson’s firing, like absent from the room when the vote occurred. Also perhaps the one who leaked the story at the beginning and then said how upsetting it was that this got out. Yes, just conjecture on my part, yet I am curious.

  28. Michael Bedwell says:

    “No more OBVIOUS victims”???? Hellooooo???? I would be surprised if I searched Americablog stories for the last several months and didn’t find references to those that were EVERYWHERE in other gay and straight media about the problems [survivor
    benefits, recognition at the funeral, etc.] of Tracy Dice, wife of Army SSgt. Donna
    Johnson who was killed in Afghanistan in October of last year, and of Karen
    Morgan, wife of Army National Guard CWO. Charlie Morgan who died of cancer this
    year [there’s even a BILL IN CONGRESS named after Charlie]. True, THANKS TO
    SLDN’S IDIOCY, all their problems were wrongly attributed to DOMA when, in
    fact, some of them were because of the misunderstanding by the officers they
    dealt with about what DOMA actually did and did NOT ban which was, in turn, a
    failure of the Pentagon to make that clear even before repeal was implemented
    which was, in turn, A FAILURE OF SLDN to make that happen. Did you not report
    in February…..as everyone else did…..on then-SECDEF Panetta’s memo promising
    that several benefits NOT banned by DOMA would finally be delivered this fall.
    Again, BECAUSE OF SLDN’S BANKRUPT STRATEGY no one asked why they hadn’t COME WITH REPEAL in 2011, nor WHY they would STILL take so long to be delivered. Once again: gay and lesbian service members are STILL not equal in the
    military. They weren’t after DADT repeal, and they STILL aren’t after DOMA’s
    death. WHY is that, and WHY hasn’t SLDN made that clear to everyone? It has
    NOTHING to do with how FINANCIALLY broke they are.

  29. The board may not be able to say anything publicly. At one point I was on a board when we discovered a key staff person had lied about their credentials (not saying that’s what happened here). As a board, we couldn’t say anything publicly – it wasn’t that we didn’t want to explain what happened, we were still negotiating with the departing staffer. Once the situation was resolved, we also determined that questions should be handled by a specific member of our board so that we as a board could focus on doing our job, namely recovering from the situation.
    It sounds ot me as if the OutServe-SLDN board has several problems to tackle all at once, including financial problems, local chapters trying to leave, managing departures of staffers and determining the future of the organization. They may be holding off on making statements until they know what they want to say and until they have something substantive to say.

  30. karmanot says:

    “none of us know what the real story is.” Yes, so why all the drama, innuendo, gossip, maybes , conjectures and whispers?

  31. I think the board was trying to be circumspect. Clearly the other side is not. They should just come out with the truth, 100%.

  32. BeccaM says:

    I couldn’t agree more: OutServe-SDLN is doing themselves a disservice by not being forthcoming on exactly what’s happening in there.

  33. Correct. There are no more obvious victims. Yes, trans people aren’t allowed to serve openly, but you’re not seeing them on television coming out and being kicked out. That was what worked for gay service members, having public victims. And it still took 20 years from when DADT was implemented.

    What bothers me with this one-sided leaking is that none of us know what the real story is. Allyson might be a victim, and Allyson might be the culprit. Or it might even be something else. There are lots of reasons that boards and EDs clash. But claiming it’s because she was trans, with no offer of any explanation as to why they believe that to be the case, fits a larger narrative of crying wolf, which is something true civil rights advocates avoid, lest it diminish their credibility when there is real discrimination. I’ve not reported on “hate crimes” that I thought looked fishy – and I got hell for it, last year or so, the one that was in Nebraska. Just sounded fake to me. And some folks got all upset and said I didn’t report on it because I hated lesbians. And now we know the story was a fake. Those kind of stories do tremendous damage to the cause of hate crimes. As do flippant accusations of discrimination.

    We need to know the truth about what happened, and getting it from leaks from just one side isn’t going to lead to that truth. It is however effectively destroying this organization.

  34. BeccaM says:

    From the financial side of things, I have to conclude there’s a very high likelihood the financial troubles are a direct result of DADT having been repealed. You’re right, John: It’s hard to fund-raise when the initial outrage of DADT discharges is gone, and for whatever reason, the push to secure anti-discrimination executive orders or legislation just hasn’t gained traction.

    In that, I think the problem is there just haven’t been any high profile cases where a gay or lesbian servicemember has suffered from post-DADT discrimination. I’m not saying there hasn’t been discrimination — I’ve seen some rumblings around the web that it’s happened. It’s just that we haven’t seen major media exposure, and probably won’t until it’s some top brass who does it or someone files a class action lawsuit alleging poor assignments, lousy performance evaluations, and lack of promotions as a pervasive pattern for the newly out gay & lesbian troops.

    Sadly, there also just hasn’t been much traction for the ongoing injustice which is transgendered folks being discharged from the military, for no reason other than animus.

    But as for OutServe-SDLN, I suspect much of what’s going on is internal politics gone awry, aided by the pressures of not having the donation revenue streams they once had. The DADT repeal required a shift in priorities and strategies, and not every social justice organization can manage that level of re-adaptation.

  35. cole3244 says:

    yep, politics has no sexual orientation.

  36. icanthink4myself says:

    One more thing that the SLDN Board has never disclosed is that they fired Robinson’s predecessor nine months ago before he even took over the job as ED. Why? Probably because he was NOT trans and someone on the Board was looking for a controversial agenda to push, while forgetting who their donor base really was. Who was it on the board that ramrodded that decision down the throats of the other board members and got them to buy into that decision, and why?

  37. Michael Bedwell says:

    First, thank you for having the guts to touch the third rail of Transgender Conspiracy Theories.
    Now, here’s the TRUTH that neither side, nor anyone else, is talking about. While
    someone with a history of narcissism and hiding in the shadows while claiming
    to be a courageous leader like Mr. Seefried should never have been folded into SLDN
    in any position of influence in any case, to continue your metaphor, so far
    this discussion has been like the proverbial rearranging of the deck chairs on
    a sinking ship. It began to sink before Ms. Robinson took over the helm, but
    she chose to continue to steer it on its wayward course, apparently abetted by
    every one of those who resigned over the alleged power struggle by Mr. Seefried
    to take it from her. While some people recognized long ago that the modus
    operandi of HRC was more a part of the problem than the solution, most have
    continued to remain blind to the fact SLDN has been, too, and for the same type
    of reasons—paying constant lip service to being the champions of their
    constituency while actually doing very little.

    HRC’s worse sin is not their compulsion to take in money as an end in itself but the fact that
    they actually have political clout that they refuse to use, reducing them to a
    “paper tiger,” toothless, and refusing to ever roar when confronted
    with the failures and outright betrayals of the Administration and Congress. It’s
    a sad fact that, despite the involvement from Day One of many good people, SLDN
    never developed much clout, and in recent years, as the passion for ending DADT
    rose to the levels that ending the policy ban had in 1993, they repeatedly
    CHOSE not to reach for the clout that was out there in the Community ready to
    be led. For instance, because SLDN [and Servicemembers United and HRC] rolled
    over and played dead in May 2010 when, according to Nancy Pelosi, the President
    pressured our allies in Congress to agree to then Secretary of Defense Robert
    Gates’ demand that the repeal bill be gutted of its mandate for
    nondiscrimination in the services after repeal, virtually no one in the
    country, gay or straight, realize it happened, and, thus, that the HUGE amount
    of ARBITRARY discrimination against gay military couples that has gone on since
    repeal implementation could have been stopped before it began. What did they do
    over A YEAR AND NINE MONTHS AGO when the Pentagon and Administration CHOSE to
    implement repeal with POLICIES that treat gay and lesbian service members as
    second class soldiers, sailors, Marines, and airmen? NOTHING. To this day,
    though several crucial benefits were NOT banned by DOMA, not a SINGLE one has actually
    been delivered, though a few PROMISES of pie in the sky were finally made this

    Even MORE unacceptable than that is that SLDN has continued to TOLERATE it with only the occasional grumble—regularly drowned out by their pathetic need to throw kisses at the
    sign of the tiniest crumb. Of course they SHOULD be fighting for open
    transgender service, but given they’ve functionally abandoned the much easier
    battle for LGB open service WITH full equality, merely more TALKING about it is

    According to public financial statements, their money problems began long before Ms.
    Robinson replaced Aubrey Sarvis—at least in name. “Total Current Assets” at the
    end of 2009 were $1,055,865 [significantly up from $733,878 at the end of 2008.
    In 2010: $974, 582. In 2011: $495,324. At the end of 2012: $380,025. To be
    fair, particularly given they fell under Sarvis, too, the rise in assets could easily
    be attributed to a rise in the belief that repeal was possible under a new
    President—and the huge fall, nearly 50% from 2010 to 2011, to the assumption
    the fight was over with passage of repeal. BUT their greatest sin—a bankrupt
    political strategy—is inexplicably connected to their financial plummet by the
    fact that they FAILED to communicate that the fight WASN’T over, that though out
    LGBs could now get ON the military bus, they had to sit in the back—when they
    had a seat at all. For despite all the Pentagon’s pretty words and promises,
    despite all the good people there, its corridors clearly coddle recalcitrant
    homophobes who have been wagging the dog. There was STILL an enemy, but SLDN
    refused to sound the battle cry—is it any wonder their budget has bounced?

    And there still IS an enemy. While Homeland Security has already put fair post DOMA policies in
    place, the DOD remains in chaos with the SECDEF saying one thing and his aides
    contradicting him. WORSE, they have actually taken a STEP BACK. Quote: “The
    extension of certain DOD designated benefits to Same-Sex Domestic Partners
    (SSDP) that was scheduled to begin on 31 August 2013, has been placed ON HOLD
    pending further Secretary of Defense and Secretary of the Army Guidance.” Though
    then-SECDEF Panetta said in his February memo that they would reassess whether
    to continue the program post any overturn of DOMA, there is NO excuse for that.
    The 37 states than banned marriage equality in February STILL do.

    I don’t carewhose name is at the top of the org chart, it’s far past time they were MORE
    than just an org chart—and a perpetual parade of impotent press releases, and a
    flood of donation requests trying to create panic over the latest grandstanding
    by whatever Repug bigot going nowhere and smeared with conscious
    misrepresentations of what DOMA actually banned that has confused everyone from
    mainstream media to the Community’s renown specialists in law, Lambda Legal.
    They must either grow a backbone and some teeth OR SHUT DOWN ENTIRELY. I
    guarantee, very soon, no one would notice they were gone—least of all the
    Pentagon where, again, the bigots have been blocking the door to real equality.
    Wake up and smell the willful failure. Please. [I refer to SLDN’s so-called
    “advocacy” mission. Many, though certainly not all, who have needed to use
    their legal advice arm have praised them. But serving that need could be
    transferred to Lambda Legal.]

  38. Organizational politics.

  39. cole3244 says:

    this is something the lgbt community does not need right now, step up people and put personal feelings aside and see the long term ramifications, for crying out loud you’re acting just like the heteros.

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