May 12, 2019 at 11:30 am EDT | by Chris Johnson
LGBT groups merge to form Modern Military Association of America
From left, Navy veteran Tavion Dignard, Army Maj. Ian Brown, Capt. Jennifer Peace, Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Megan Winters and Air Force Staff Sgt. Logan Ireland attend the State of the Union Address on Feb. 5, 2018. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

In the aftermath of the U.S. military implementing a new ban on transgender service members, a duo of groups that have worked to advance rights for LGBT people in the armed forces have merged to form the Modern Military Association of America.

The organizations — the American Military Partner Association and OutServe-SLDN — announced Saturday night the decision to combine into one at the 2019 AMPA National Gala in D.C.

The new organization is formed in the aftermath of the Defense Department implementing President Trump’s transgender military ban, which went into effect last month.

The head of the organization will be Navy veteran Andy Blevins, who formerly headed up OutServe-SLDN as executive director.

“I’m both humbled and honored to lead the Modern Military Association of America at this challenging moment in the fight for LGBTQ military equality,” Blevins said in a statement. “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. 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.”

OutServe-SLDN was itself the product of merged LGBT military organizations. In 2012, the OutServe, a network organizations for LGBT military personnel and the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, a legal and advocacy organization merged to form OutServe-SLDN after their combined efforts to defeat “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

Ashley Broadway-Mack, president of the American Military Partner Association, said in a statement the newly formed Modern Military Association of American will similarly take on challenges facing LGBT service members.

“We’re truly excited that both of these incredible organizations are merging to create a formidable force in the battles ahead,” Broadway-Mack said. “By combining forces with OutServe-SLDN, we’re embarking on a new journey fighting for open and authentic service and education, advocacy and support for modern military families.”

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

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