( WASHINGTON ) February 27, 2018 — The nation's oldest and largest LGBT military organization today is announcing its continued expansion and growth with the addition of a new staff member and expanded programming services. This follows the organization's merger with the Military Partners & Families Coalition, which was finalized in December 2017.
Today, OutServe-SLDN announces the hiring of Kai River Blevins as Director of Education, Chapter & Veteran's services. Kai's biography can be found below.
"I am thrilled to have Kai joining the OutServe-SLDN team as our Director of Education, Chapter & Veteran's Services," Matt Thorn, President & CEO of OutServe-SLDN stated. "Continued development in all three of the key areas Kai will have oversight to is a logical next step for us as an organization, as we continue to push-back against the Trump-Pence administration and ensure our LGBT military and veteran communities are receiving due care, services, and representation. The coupling of Kai's background as a service member, their extensive education portfolio, and their passion and commitment to the cause will be an essential asset to our future growth and accomplishments. In the coming months, we are going to be aggressive in our expansion with our advocacy, our programming and support systems. Kai is an integral piece to the future of the organization and we couldn't be happier to have them on board."
"I am thrilled to be part of the OutServe-SLDN team" said Kai Blevins, Director of Education, Chapter & Veteran Services. "This position reflects OutServe-SLDN's commitment to our service members, veterans, and their families. Through providing direct services and advocacy, revitalizing our chapters, and delivering educational programming to our members and those who serve the LGBT military community, we are ensuring that our community has the tools and resources they need to thrive, particularly at this political moment. It is an honor to be able to serve my community in this role."
In addition to the hiring of Kai, OutServe-SLDN marks further expansion with Legal Director Peter Perkwoski becoming a certified Veterans Services Officer. This addition will allow OutServe-SLDN to engage more expansively with our LGBT veteran community; ensuring they get the necessary and vital services due to them.
"The addition of Peter's status as a Veteran Service Officer is critical to the expansion of our work" said Matt Thorn, President & CEO of OutServe-SLDN. "This growth is a reaffirmation of the work still left to do and the commitment that OutServe-SLDN has to our LGBT military community."
Biography of Kai River Blevins
Kai River Blevins ( they/them ) has been involved in LGBTQ activism since 2011, when they originally joined OutServe-SLDN's team as the New York Regional Chapter Leader. After leaving the Army, Kai continued to serve the LGBTQ military community through the Military Partners and Families Coalition's online education programming, before turning to national and state politics, where they managed a congressional primaries race and organized on a statewide economic justice campaign in Oregon. An educator at heart, Kai has enjoyed teaching LGBTQ cultural competency and client-provider interaction trainings to non-profits, social service and health care providers, and government agencies for the last several years.
Kai received their Master's of Legal Studies, with an emphasis in civil rights and constitutional law, from Willamette University. Kai received their bachelor's degree in Sociology and Political Science, magna cum laude, with a certificate in Democracy and Social Movements, where they focused on exploring social movements as both catalysts and threats to democratization processes around the world, from the University of Colorado. In their free time, Kai enjoys writing poetry and articles as a contributing writer for "Everyone Is Gay."
OutServe-SLDN ( OS-SLDN ) is a non-partisan, non-profit, legal services and policy organization dedicated to bringing about full LGBT equality to America's military and ending all forms of discrimination and harassment of military personnel on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. With more than fifty chapters and 6,000 members around the world, OS-SLDN supports a professional network of LGBT military personnel and strives to create an environment of respect in the military with regard to sexual orientation and gender identity. OS-SLDN provides free and direct legal assistance to service members and veterans affected by the repealed "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law and the prior regulatory ban on open service, as well as those currently serving who may experience harassment or discrimination. For more information, visit www.outserve-sldn.org .