UPDATE: Bumped up for the liveblog.
Tonight is the liveblog with the leaders of Outserve, the “underground network of LGBT actively serving military members.”
We are active duty and veteran gay, lesbian, and bisexual soldiers, sailors, Marines, airmen, and members of the Coast Guard who are currently serving and who have served – some in silence, some with the open support of our comrades – in defense of our nation. We include service men and women who graduated at the top of our classes at the service academies and enlisted at recruitment centers around the country. Some of our members have lost their lives in service to their country.
Ty Walrod and JD Smith will be taking your questions.
Ty Walrod is the civilian co-director of OutServe. He graduated in 2006 from Washburn University. He runs OutServe’s operations in San Francisco where he has worked at Deloitte LLP and Coverity Inc.
JD Smith is the active duty co-director of OutServe. He is a graduate of a U.S. service academy and a current officer in the U.S. armed forces.
The org announced on Monday the creation of several base and regional chapters around the globe. At least ten will be organized by OutServe this week on military bases and regions where the organization has significant presence, including Afghanistan and Iraq. For safety reasons the exact location of the chapters will not be known, except for inside the exclusive network, but 5 chapters will be located overseas and 5 chapters will be located stateside. Although the demand to establish additional chapters is high, OutServe will start with ten this week and expand in the near future.
The goal of each base and regional chapter will be to provide information, resources and social support to actively serving military personnel. “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” places an immense burden upon individuals who think they are alone at their base and these networks will seek to fix that. Each chapter will be charged with growing and expanding their networks and offering support in their specific areas. OutServe Headquarters will be tasked with supporting those networks and serving as the voice of the national organization.
“We need to start to empower local military networks to expand and unite them under one banner,” said JD Smith, OutServe’s co-director and active duty officer in the U.S. Armed Forces. He continued, “Informal networks of gay and lesbian military members have existed well before World War I and it’s time to take those networks and start connecting them and giving them more resources.”