OutServe Armed Forces Leadership Summit to Address Diversity as a Way to Strengthen Military
OutServe Board members and Chapter Leaders met today in a conference leading in to the first-ever OutServe Armed Forces Leadership Summit. This was the first time that most members of the online-based organization were meeting in person.
“After working together online for so long, there was an instant connection,” said Air Force Staff Sgt. Joshua Engle, one of 48 Chapter Leaders worldwide, more than half of whom attended the conference. “We had a lot of agreement about where we want to go, and how we wanted to help the OutServe organization and the military.”
Discussions centered around organizational issues as well as concerns of OutServe members, including ways to involve veterans and allies in the actively-serving military organization; how to support partners and families in the absence of military recognition; and ways to improve connections between local OutServe groups and their local commands and communities.
“What we did today will help the military be more inclusive, and will strengthen unit cohesion,” said Air Force Major Jeffrey Mueller. “When the military asks us for input on what might be done differently, as they do with similar organizations, we will have well-thought out recommendations to present.”
The full OutServe Armed Forces Leadership Summit will continue throughout the weekend, as the chapter leaders are joined by other actively-serving members as well as allies and subject-matter experts, including active military from allies such as Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand, and Israel.
Army Master Sgt. Kris Kobernus summed up the day’s work: “The recommendations we brought forth today will make us stronger soldiers, which will make the military stronger,” he said.
Summit sponsors include the Human Rights Campaign, Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, the Central Intelligence Agency, Amazon, Courage Campaign, American Veterans for Equal Rights, Out & Equal, Log Cabin Republicans, Stonewall Democrats, Tropicana Hotel, Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, Wells Fargo, the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force, PRIDE Institute, and Coverity. The conference takes place in Las Vegas, Nevada.
More information about the conference agenda is here.
OutServe is the association of actively serving LGBT military personnel that launched in 2010. With more than 4,000 members and 40 plus chapters worldwide, it is one of the largest LGBT employee resource groups in the world. OutServe works to support a professional network of LGBT military personnel and create an environment of respect in the military with regard to sexual orientation and gender identity.