OutServe - Servicemembers Legal Defense Network
Freedom to Serve
OS-SLDN supports, defends and empowers LGBT service members, veterans and their families. Our mission is to strengthen military culture by securing equal opportunity, equal protection and equal benefits, without threat of harassment or discrimination, for LGBT service members and veterans.
We accomplish our mission by:
- Pursuing impact litigation challenging laws and regulations that deny full equality of health care, benefits and resources;
- Advocating within the halls of Congress, the White House, the Pentagon and the Department of Veterans Affairs for legislative and regulatory changes to remove barriers to equal benefits;
- Providing free legal services to LGBT service members and veterans facing harassment or discrimination;
- Supporting transgender military service;
- Educating and informing the media and the public on matters relating to the service and sacrifice of LGBT military personnel, veterans and their families;
- Providing a place for LGBT service members and organizations to connect, network and collaborate; and
- Assisting LGBT veterans discharged under DADT and the prior ban on gay and lesbian service to achieve dignity by correcting discharge records.
To secure the freedom for all qualified individuals to serve, with equality of treatment and opportunity, regardless of actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity
Provide free legal advice and assistance to those joining or serving in the U.S. Armed Forces who may experience harassment or discrimination because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. OS-SLDN will provide advice and assistance to service members who:
- Are discriminated against or harassed for the above reasons,
- Were discharged from the armed forces under Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell or the prior regulatory ban and who either wish to return to service or are seeking justice and equity from the Board for Correction of Military Records and the Board for Correction of Naval Records, or
- Are transgender.
Ensure that all those serving or wishing to serve in the U.S. armed forces may do so free from discrimination based on actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity Advocate for the adoption of a policy of nondiscrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, by either Executive Order or Department of Defense policies and regulations.
- Advise and assist the military in the development of these policies and regulations and in the provision of the education and training necessary to ensure their complete implementation.
- Monitor the implementation of these policies by the Department of Defense and the service branches.
- Continue to mobilize our partners in equality from the civil rights, veterans, legal and LGBT communities, as well as people of faith, clergy and other allies, to vigilantly monitor the implementation of these policies.
- Develop media and outreach campaigns to create greater awareness of the nondiscrimination policies, both in the general public and in the military.
- Continue advocacy and research activities to document and highlight the dangers of discrimination in the armed forces.
Advocate for policies and practices that will protect and improve the lives of service members who are, or are perceived to be, lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender and that ensure their equal treatment, benefits and opportunities. OS-SLDN will work to ensure that:
- Every service member who harasses or condones harassment is accountable for his or her actions,
- The Pentagon holds accountable those who harass service members,
- Every service member is able to safely report harassment, without fear of reprisal, through the same channels available for reporting any other type of harassment,
- Every service member has a chain of command that assures the safety of all its members,
- Military defense attorneys, staff judge advocates and others in the military are educated about post-DADT policies, regulations, guidelines and procedures,
- Equal treatment, benefits and opportunities are provided to LGBT service members and their families Senior leadership and every service member are trained on and held accountable for the proper implementation of post-DADT policies, regulations, guidelines and procedures,
- The military’s antiquated sodomy statute is repealed and
- Service members receive evenhanded treatment in the military criminal justice system.
Mobilize and support service members, veterans and allied organizations to advocate for the right to serve without discrimination
- Enhance online communities of out and proud veterans and active duty service members, including National Guard, reserve and cadets.
- Working with our allies, expand grassroots networks and outreach to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender service members and veterans.
- Recognize and appreciate the contributions of LGBT veterans who have defended our freedoms in enforced silence.
Strengthen organizational capacity
- Enhance OS-SLDN’s financial strength through the generous support of its contributors.
- Always assure the highest return on donors’ investment.
- Maintain the highest standards of ethics and fiscal responsibility.
- Recruit and retain the best and brightest staff, board of directors, military advisory council and volunteers.