OutServe-SLDN executive director Allyson Robinson was forced to resign by the organization’s board Saturday, and other senior staffers and some board members have quit in protest.
Robinson, the first openly transgender leader of a national LGBT rights organization whose focus is not primarily transgender issues, was hired by OutServe-SLDN last October. The reasons given for the board’s action vary widely, “from fundraising and leadership abilities to personality conflicts to anti-transgender bias,” reports BuzzFeed. Some sources said Robinson recently offered to take a pay cut to avoid layoffs at the organization.
Senior staff members Zeke Stokes, who was director of external engagement, and Gary Espinas, director of chapter and member services, resigned immediately in protest of Robinson’s ousting, according to The Bilerico Project, which originally broke the story. David McKean, legal and public policy director, also intends to leave the organization, but said in an email to Bilerico that he will stay “until I can determine how to resolve matters related to client representation in accordance with legal ethics rules and requirements.”
Board member Sue Fulton has confirmed that she resigned over the decision to let Robinson go, and she accused board chair Josh Seefried of rushing the matter through, BuzzFeed notes. Seefried declined comment. Two other board members, Beth Schissel and Matthew Phelps, have reportedly resigned as well.
The Advocate interviewed Robinson shortly after she began working at OutServe-SLDN. Read that here, and check back for updates as the story develops.