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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, June 4, 2011 - Volume 39 Issue 22
New organization launched to support LGBT military partners
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New organization launched to support LGBT military partners

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Associate Editor

May 31 marked the official launch of Military Partners and Families Coalition (MPFC), an organization that provides support, resources, education, and advocacy for LGBT military partners and their families.

According to MPFC officials, 'while the repeal of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' will eventually allow Gay and Lesbian troops to be honest about their lives and openly acknowledge and affirm their relationships, their partners will get few of the many benefits military spouses receive.'

'MPFC will provide a support system for military partners and families who can't get that support from the Defense Department,' said Ariana Bostian-Kentes, MPFC spokesperson, whose partner is currently serving but cannot be identified while DADT is still in place. 'Mrs. Obama and [Vice-President] Biden have earned our respect for speaking out in support of military families recently - we are complementing that effort by standing up for the many military families that are left out.'

'Sometimes you need concrete resources, other times you just need to reach out to someone who knows what you're going through,' said Bostian-Kentes. 'We will be working with other organizations, including OutServe and LGBT veterans' organizations, but we felt we needed a group to focus on our concerns as partners.'

According to news reports, the core group that founded MPFC, including Bostian-Kentes, provided testimony to the Pentagon Working Group that studied DADT last year.

'Supporting our partners and family members is a top priority for our members,' said the active-duty co-director of OutServe, the association of actively serving LGBT military personnel, who goes by the pseudonym JD Smith. 'We are proud to partner with MPFC, and we look forward to working together for the benefit of all our families.'

Over the next few months, MPFC officials say they will build a strong online presence for a membership that spans the globe, create new partnerships with organizations that can provide military families with assistance, and connect partners and families with much-needed education and resources. The group is expected to grow significantly after the formal repeal of DADT.

'We welcome all interested military partners, families, allies, and organizations to join our movement,' concluded Bostian-Kentes. 'Our partners have chosen to serve in the military and we have chosen to be part of that service. We believe that a well-cared-for military family leads to a more effective servicemember; this is our duty as we see it.'

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