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SPARTA, New Group For LGBT Service Members And Veterans Launches

by David Badash on July 22, 2013

in Civil Rights,News,Politics

Post image for SPARTA, New Group For LGBT Service Members And Veterans Launches

Former OutServe SLDN Transgender Organization Joins New SPARTA Military Group

Servicemembers, Partners, and Allies for Respect and Tolerance for All (SPARTA) announced its launch today, just weeks after the apparent forced resignation of Allyson Robinson at OutServe SLDN that precipitated the group’s reported impending dissolution.

Describing themselves as “a group of LGBT people and allies who are currently serving or have served in the military, and our families,” SPARTA says in a statement they “are a membership organization, built by, for, and with members from all parts of our community.” The group does not mention the embattled OutServe SLDN organization.

“Our members represent the Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, and Marines. We are all especially committed to ourTrans members, formerly known as the OutServe Trans group, and to gaining full equality for them in the US Armed Forces.”

And in fact, OutServe’s Transgender chapter announced in a separate statement they have left OutServe SLDN to join SPARTA.

“Since the upheaval at OutServe-SLDN began on June 22nd, the transgender chapter of the organization has been working to determine where and how we can best fit within the movement,” the announcement reads:

This process has been painful, and strained personal and professional relationships that had previously been strong. The OutServe Transgender Chapter has had to make a clear-eyed assessment of where we stand and what we need.

The deliberations within our 120-member group have been honest, fact-based, and open to all members. The conclusions were reached without animus. The ultimate question we had to answer was where we need to be in order to most effectively move the issue of open service for transgender people forward. Unfortunately, it was the considered opinion of our members that OutServe-SLDN will not be able to represent our interests effectively for the foreseeable future.

The new organization, SPARTA (also written as SPART*A) published a list of its starting leadership team:

Carl Able, USMC

Karl Alvarez, Air Force veteran

Jase Daniels, US Navy

Tanya Domi, Army veteran

Tania Dunbar, US Army

Christopher Hooper, US Navy

Jeremy Johnson, Navy veteran

Mark Mazzone, US Army

Beth Schissel, Air Force veteran

Julianne Sohn, Marine Corps veteran

Brynn Tannehill, Navy veteran

No word yet on former OutServe SLDN executive director Allyson Robinson, or if she will have a role in the new group, although no doubt many are hoping. Robinson’s apparent forced resignation from OutServe SLDN was challenged by many, and her handling of it was an example of exceptional professionalism and leadership.

GetEQUAL issued a statement welcoming the new organization:

We’re thrilled with SPARTA’s emergence as a support network for active-duty LGBT members of the military — and their family and allies. We’ve always believed in the idea of “nothing about us without us” — that those most impacted by decisions and rules and laws should be the ones driving advocacy. SPARTA has emerged at the right time — when the growing pains in the military after the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” require vigilance, when transgender members of the military still cannot serve openly, and when we still lack non-discrimination protections in the military to protect against discrimination while serving. There is much work ahead, we’re glad that active-duty members of the military will be driving that work, and we look forward to working with anyone who is actively and urgently pushing the federal government to see them as full human beings, deserving equal protection under the law.

SPARTA is online, and on Facebook and Twitter.


Editor’s note: Full disclosure — Tanya Domi, who is the Board Chair of GetEQUAL and is serving on SPARTA’s new leadership team, as noted above, is the Deputy Editor of The New Civil Rights Movement.

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{ 1 comment }

ByrgFink July 22, 2013 at 5:19 pm

Even though SPARTA is a great acronym, I am sorry that you will settle for Tolerance.

LGBs and Ts should demand acceptance as the human beings that LGBT people are.

We tolerate people we do not like. Seek acceptance, please.

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