Tonight, OutServe announced that it will be holding a "Capital Summit" on May 14 and 15, with the aim of "gather[ing] actively-serving military of all sexual orientations with experts from resource and advocacy groups to discuss the legal rights of gay and lesbian military partners, as well as resources for their support," according to a release issued by the organization tonight.
According to the Josh Seefried, co-director of OutServe, "Our goal with this Summit is to bring together the military community to address the issues that affect LGBT military families and how to solve them. We need to educate decision-makers, as private citizens, how our families are affected -- and send a clear message that our families matter."
The event will be co-sponsored by the Human Rights Campaign, Courage Campaign, and Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, and a website for the conference already has been launched.
The first day of the summit, according to the site, will focus on "workshops and presentations regarding how we can make LGBT military families stronger" and the second will focus on "congressional education."
The release notes, "Spouses and partners of gay and lesbian service members are not currently provided all available resources to support their families during and after deployments, nor are they given access to base facilities or many educational, counseling, healthcare, and other privileges. For example, a gay or lesbian spouse cannot pick up a child from military day care, or purchase groceries for the family at the commissary."
Although out transgender service, currently not allowed by military regulation, is not specifically detailed as a topic of the conference, Seefried told Metro Weekly that transgender service would be a topic addressed at the summit.
Saying that "transgender families" would be included, he noted, "Our transgender network in the military has grown to over 40 (actively serving), and we are addressing their families as well."
Zeke Stokes, the communications director for SLDN, told Metro Weekly, "SLDN is looking forward to being a partner in this first-of-its-kind event that will welcome gay and lesbian service members, their families, and other supporters of full LGBT equality in the military to our nation's capital to discuss issues, challenges, and opportunities and share their experiences with decision makers."