…much less as leaders.
OutServe/SLDN Executive Director Allyson Robinson was fired after a board coup yesterday according to a leaked email sent to Bilerico Project. Robinson was the only transgender leader of a major LGBT organization that is not specifically trans-related.
Make no mistake: I’ve been perhaps the harshest critic of Robinson’s presence as a paid employee within the bowels of Gay, Inc. Her 2008 hiring by HRC was perhaps the most disgustingly transparent and non-substantive token hire in the history of the concepts of not just civil rights but employment in general, a hire which occured in the aftermath of HRC’s public commission of criminal fraud in 2007 (accepting support from trans people based on Joe Solmonese’s claim that HRC would only support a trans-inclusive ENDA, a claim made while the organization was already withdrawing support for the legitimate ENDA in favor of St. Barney’s gay-only version) and served two major purposes: (1) a vehicle by which it could tell all non-T critics of HRC to shut up if they ever even asked questions about HRC’s policies on trans issues, and (2) the crowning insult to all of the trans people – alive and dead – who actually had spent years of time, energy and money (all their own, of course, because none of them were employed by Gay, Inc.) to force HRC to deal with trans people and our issues. For, when HRC finally deigned to hire a trans woman, she was one totally and completely outside of all trans activism circles and one who had spent the years when trans activists actually were actually spending time, energy and money (all their own, of course, because none of them were employed by Gay, Inc.) becoming a walking-talking billboard for autogynephilia: a woman whose only qualifications for anything involved preaching and the miliary.
Which means, however, a position with – or even being head of – an organization that purports to represent the interests of the infinitessimal percentage of LGBT people who have a desire for a career in the miliatry is the position (I won’t address the preacher thing) for which she actually might be qualified….
oh, except for that little, never-posted-on-any-job-opening-notices, Gay, Inc.-mandated qualification: to not be a trans woman.
The surprise here is that Robinson has some LGBs on her side within OutServe/SLDN:
The organization’s entire senior staff quit immediately following the board vote. Director of External Engagement Zeke Stokes, Director of Chapter and Member Services Gary Espinas, and David McKean, Legal and Public Policy Director, have all resigned in protest of Robinson’s termination.
So far two board members have also resigned over Robinson’s firing. Other board member resignations are expected later today.
My entire professional life, I have maintained a motto: “Work Hard, Be Nice.”
So I will not betray that now. Instead, I will say that it has been the great honor of my career to serve our nation’s brave LGBT service members, veterans and their families. I could never have imagined when I accepted this position, that people like Charlie Morgan would enter my life and make such a profound impact on me.
Today, the Board of Directors made decisions that have compromised the trust I had placed in it heretofore. They have chosen a direction that is inconsistent with what I believe is necessary to secure a successful future for the organization. In doing so, they have for the foreseeable future sacrificed the viability of the mission.
For that reason, I can no longer represent OutServe-SLDN to the public or to our members and donors. Thus, effective today, I have resigned as a member of the staff and wish to no longer be affiliated with the organization.
For the rest of my life, I will be forever grateful for the opportunity to serve our nation’s LGBT military community; however, the actions of this board are not worthy of their service and sacrifice. I choose to honor them with my resignation effective today.
I just saw the following comment on Facebook to a posting about the Robinson firing:
That org just tanked permanently. Who would donate a dime to that Board’s visionary leadership?
The same people who continue to donate to organizations – such as HRC, NGLTF, Lambda Legal, et. al. – who have, for decades, exhibited a pattern and practice of employment discrimination against trans women?
As for OutServe-SLDN’s purpose…
Hey – the infinitessimal percentage of LGBs who want a military career got what they wanted in 2009 when their pet issue was permanently ramrodded ahead of the employment concerns of all LGBT people. Personally, I’m surprised that the pre-merger OutServe and SLDN didn’t just shut down right then and there. We all know – yes we do – that in the unlikely event that the Supreme Court actually issues a Loving v. Virginia-style ruling on gay marriage next week, HRC will disband by the end of the month (or as soon as Chad Griffin and all of the organization’s non-trans employees – which, even three months after the flag incident – would be all of HRCs employees, cash their gay-marriage-killing-all-other-issues-celebration bonus checks.)
The people on OutServe-SLDN’s board who are putting their money were their mouths are by resigning in support of Robinson should be commended. When does that ever happen in Gay, Inc.? (After all, we certainly haven’t seen any non-trans protests – much less resignations – when Janice Raymond-mini-me Victoria Brownworth is allowed to earn money by shoving her opinions on trans people into the media mix – and I won’t even mention the deafening slience over Lisa Mottet’s continued employment as a trans expert while equally-and-better-qualified trans women sit in the unemployment shadows.)
Will this incident finally cause entrenched corporate gay media – such as Queer Channel Media and the zombie publication that used to be the Advocate – to do some actual journalism on the issue of Gay, Inc.’s long and disgusting history of openly and notoriously discriminating against trans women in the one area over which Gay, Inc. actually has total and complete control, namely its own hiring practices?
I’m not holding my breath.
Allyson Robinsin shouldn’t either.
[UPDATE – 06/23/13, 12:55 CDT]
Apologism from The John:
Gay/trans organizations have a long history of problems between their boards and executive directors. Just a few weeks ago, the gay head of GLAAD resigned after only one year on the job – and he had replaced another gay ED that was forced out. Sometimes ED’s are forced out unfairly, and sometimes they’re not.
The John also has a different take on the story overall:
[M]y sources tell me that Robinson has not been fired, nor has she resigned, but that a movement was brewing to remove her as executive director of the organization when the story went public.
While the details of this story are still somewhat murky, it seems that there was a movement underway by some in the board of directors to remove Robinson for a reason yet unknown, but possibly tied to the resignation of longtime Chief Financial Officer Francisco Ramirez last month.
Interestingly, one month ago, OutServe-SLDN’s chief financial officer Francisco (Pancho) Ramirez resigned. Ramirez had been with the organization since 2005. I hear that Ramirez’ resignation was related to the move against Allyson Robinson. Robinson reportedly wanted Ramirez gone, and he resigned because of Robinson.
Not surprisingly, The John isn’t even willing to specifically ask whether Ramirez might be a transphobe or have been otherwise predisposed against working for Robinson. To be fair, I know nothing of Ramirez, but there seems to be plenty of contortionist-quality wordsmithery afoot in avoidance of placing whatever has transpired re: Robinson in the larger context of a Gay, Inc. pattern and practice of employment discrimination against trans women.
[UPDATE – 06/23/13, 1:26 PM CDT]
[UPDATE – 06/23/13, 1:52 CDT]
John Aravosis is reporting at AmericaBLOG that OutServe-SLDN Chief Financial Officer Francisco Ramirez resigned last month citing disagreements with Robinson….
Other sources with knowledge about the group’s finances who asked not to be identified say that the decision was mostly based off a lack of fundraising ability since the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. They claim that Robinson volunteered last week to take a pay cut to prevent layoffs at the org.
Trans people for
years decades have said that as soon as LGBs get what they want, not only will trans people will be forgotten but, quite possibly, the gay organizations that got what they want for the LGB will shut down. We saw it almost happen in Massachusetts as soon as the LGBs who already had employment discrimination protections got gay marriage – and, I stand by what I wrote above regarding what HRC, et. al. will do if they get their Loving v. Virginia this week.
This “lack of fundraising ability,” if true either in fact or as excuse, would simply seem to be telegraphing the oh-so-lamentable reason that will be given by every organization for shutting down when all of the LGB stuff is done and all that’s left is ‘that tranny stuff.’
Who isn’t accused of being anti-trans nowadays, John?
Well, the people who resigned in support of Robinson to name a few.
Keep talking, John.
You and the radphlegms are writing my dissertation for me.
[UPDATE – 06/23/13, 2:30 PM CDT]
Seen recently on Facebook:
Food for thought…
to wash down your Brownworth with – and just in time for whatever is supposed to allegedly possibly happen with ENDA in the comming weeks.
[UPDATE – 06/23/13, 3:00 PM CDT]
The usual anti-trans hatred in the comments sections at the usual sites:
Gay leaders (off the record) will tell you that these male to female trans people are impossible to work with and bring their sense of entitlement and bullying behaviors with them in whatever organizations they are attempting to dominate. This is no surprise.
Posted by: franklin | Jun 23, 2013 1:22:00 PM
And the other usual sites:
Another disaster for the sham of “LGBT”. Why can’t we just let LGBs have organizations that focus on sexual orientation? Why is fighting for gay equality so wrong? Trans activists have their own organizations that focus solely on trans rights, but thanks to the contrivance of LGBT we think that it is somehow improper to fight for gay rights unless we are simultaneously catering to the concerns of heterosexual crossdressers and transsexuals.
[W]hy don’t LGB orgs also focus on poverty in Appalachia, the rights of ethnic Chinese in Cambodia and climate change?
It seems to me that these platitudes of “none of us are free until we all are” are meaningless, since folks like you are only using it to conscript the LGB movement to the service of trans activists. If you took the platitude literally, then the LGB movement would have to take up every cause in the world.
[UPDATE – 06/23/13, 4:50 PM CDT]
Queer Channel Media has decided to start reporting on the story:
Asked by the Blade to comment on the developments, OutServe co-founder and Board Chair Josh Seefried had little to say, but gave assurances more information would be forthcoming.
“We have some internal issues to deal with, but after that, we will be updating the community,” Seefried said.
Jonathan Hopkins, another board member, told the Blade the Bilerico report is “not entirely accurate,” but refused to comment further.
[UPDATE – 06/23/13, 06:00 PM CDT]
On the still-reletive gaymedia silence, Ethan St. Pierre opines on Facebook:
[H]ad this same thing happened to Rea Carey, we’d be standing in line at the fund-raiser by now.
And if it had happened to Chad Griffin, David Boies and Ted Olson would already be pleading his case at the Supreme Court and someone somewhere would be demanding that his plight take precedence over ENDA.