OutServe-SLDN to Restructure, Josh Seefried to Resign
After a week of public chaos and inner turmoil, the LGBT military group OutServe-SLDN will be appointing a new board of directors and Josh Seefried, the board cochair who was seen as the instigator of the PR crisis, is resigning tomorrow, according to Chris Geidner at BuzzFeed.
Twenty-seven-year-old Seefried, who helped found OutServe during “don't ask, don't tell” (under the pseudonym J.D. Smith because he was a current service member still), told Geidner, “I own the last week, the fact that this PR disaster happened, is on my leadership, and I own that. It’s hard to see the LGBT community be very harsh when people may not know all the information or see everything.”
Antitrans bias had been alleged after Seefried was said to have orchestrated the ouster of Allyson Robinson, the executive director appointed last year, who is the first out transgender person to lead a major LGBT organization. The charge is something that Seefried and industry insiders argue is absolutely not true. Seefried said, “There was nothing in the events of the past few days that was something that occurred because of anyone’s antitrans bias. That couldn’t be further from the truth. This board proudly hired the first trans ED of any organization focused on the full LGBT community.”
Brynn Tannehill, a former lieutenant commander in the military and a staunch transgender advocate at OutServe-SLDN, agrees emphatically with Seefried. "I want to state categorically that I do not believe trans phobia had any part in the events of the last 10 days at OutServe," she told The Advocate.
In addition to Seefried's resignation from the board, a new transition committee has been formed, composed of four chapter leaders and four board members, who will appoint new leadership. The transition team includes Tannehill,Tania Dunbar, Todd Burton, and Regis Sullivan, Katie Miller, Mike Magee, Matthew Phelps, and Regina Grattan.
"This has undoubtedly been a challenging time for OS-SLDN," Tannehill said in a statement released by the board. "The most important thing we've all learned from this situation is how critical the support network we've built is to the LGBT service members around the world. They truly care about this organization and want it to succeed. It’s time to put aside our differences and get to work.We hope the broader community will give us the space to work without distraction, and we urge our chapter leaders and individual members to use this transition period to bring us their ideas because we’re one team from here on out. ‘Stronger, Together’ isn’t just a motto. it’s the truth."
Read the full board statement here.