Amid Recent Policy Shift, LGBTQ Military Groups Announce Merger

The Modern Military Association of America, launched from the merger of two prominent LGBTQ military groups, comes a month after a transgender ban was reinstated by the Trump administration.

Two of the largest organizations supporting gay, lesbian, transgender, bisexual, and queer (LGBTQ) individuals affiliated with the military are joining forces.

The American Military Partner Association (AMPA), which represents the spouses and families of LGBTQ people in the military, is combining with OutServe-SLDN, a group representing LGBTQ service members. The new organization, which will be called the Modern Military Association of America (MMAA), says it will be the voice of the LGBTQ military and veteran communities.

“We’re truly excited that both of these incredible organizations are merging to create a formidable force in the battles ahead,” AMPA President Ashley Broadway-Mack said in a news release.

It’s not the first such merger in the space: OutServe-SLDN itself was formed through a 2012 merger of the groups OutServe and the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network. Both groups played a key role in ending the U.S. military’s controversial “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy in 2010. In comments on launch of MMAA, OutServe-SLDN board cochair Josh Fontanez spoke to that history.

“For nearly 26 years, OutServe-SLDN has been fighting for the right of LGBTQ military members to serve our nation openly and authentically,” Fontanez said in the news release. “We’re proud to continue that fight by merging with the American Military Partner Association and working together to defend and support the LGBTQ military and veteran community.”

The latest merger comes at a time of renewed activity on the political front regarding LGBTQ military service. Last month, a ban on transgender individuals serving was reinstated by the Trump administration. The Obama administration had ended the ban in 2016.

Andy Blevins, who served as OutServe-SLDN’s executive director, will lead the new organization, which will have 81 chapters globally.

“While we’ve made tremendous progress over the years as a community, much of that progress is now being threatened and rolled back—especially for our transgender service members who now face an unconscionable transgender military ban,” Blevins said. “We’re committed to doing everything within our power to stand up for all of our modern military and veteran families and ensure they have a powerful voice in Washington and beyond.”

(AvailableLight/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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