Word came this evening that Equality Matters, the new Media Matters for America venture that boasts prominent LGBT commentator and former Clinton gay liaison Richard Socarides as its president and former Advocate reporter Kerry Eleveld as its online editor, has secured Trevor Thomas, the communications director for Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, as its programs director.
Socarides said in a statement sent to Metro Weekly, "Trevor's work on behalf of 'don't ask, don't tell' repeal was crucial in shaping the debate and to its successful outcome. His efforts are well known to the Washington press corps and political community, which came to rely on his emailed Media Updates as the gold-standard for reporters and others wanting up-to-date and reliable information.
"He is an incredible advocate and forthright spokesperson. We are excited he has agreed to join us and continue his work on behalf of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community at Equality Matters."
In an email sent this evening to friends and colleagues that he gave permission for Metro Weekly to publish, he wrote of his time at SLDN, "When I arrived to SLDN, I viewed it broadly as another gay rights group. It didn't take long to recognize SLDN was a military group first and foremost. For so many on the staff and board, ending 'Don't Ask' was deeply personal. Many of them were discharged or served in fear and silence.
"In my own life, my brother Ricky enlisted in the United States Army at age 18. My father served in the 126th Infantry of the Michigan National Guard. And my grandfather served as a U.S. Army Corporal during World War II. I've been fortunate to find my own road to pay it forward."
Thomas will leave SLDN now and is set to start with Equality Matters on Jan. 24, one week after Eleveld is set to begin there.