As the time since the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” passes, the reality of having LGB people serving openly in the armed forces is becoming more, well, real. Yesterday, Outserve, an association that includes active gay, lesbian, and bisexual military personnel, announced that they’re organizing the first Outserve Armed Forces Leadership Summit. The summit, which runs from October 13-16 in Las Vegas, will bring together LGB military personnel to discuss the implementation of the repeal of the DADT policy.
The event will feature speakers, discussions, and panels on how the military can best be prepared to provide a respectful, non-judgmental, and nondiscriminatory environment for LGB people, a task that’s been approached by the government as a huge, uphill battle for the past year.
The organization’s co-director, “JD Smith,” said in a press release about the Summit:
We believe diversity is a force multiplier, and this conference will bring together veterans, active-duty military, and other experts to help us leverage LGBT inclusion for the benefit of military readiness. … Building an environment of mutual respect is ingrained in our military values, and as active-duty soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines who happen to be gay, that’s what we are working toward.Don’t like ads? Become a supporter and enjoy The Good Men Project ad free
Outserve launched in July 2010, rebranded from a similar organization, and it’s already racked up 3,000 members and spawned 42 chapters around the world. It has positioned itself as the leading organization looking to provide a strong, professional network of support for LGB members of the military. In March, they launched an international magazine for the gay military that would be distributed at large military bases and is available online.
It’s an interesting organization because the membership and leadership behind it are completely anonymous. Since repeal of DADT hasn’t been finalized or implemented yet and the policy is still in effect, it’s still not entirely safe or legal for gay, lesbian or bisexual people serving in the military to come out. That’s why the co-director of Outserve, “JD Smith” (a pseudonym for an active-duty military officer) appears on news shows as a silhouette, and that’s why the names of members are so closely guarded.
Even though it’s vanished from the news media since the onslaught of coverage about repeal (we just can’t find a happy medium, can we?), the importance of DADT and the supposed intricacies of its repeal continue. Some of those intricacies have been observed by Officer X, an anonymous gay officer who blogs for Time magazine. The Outserve Summit stands to be an excellent way to join Officer X in keeping the pressure on the military to facilitate a smooth transition toward equality.