Washington, DC — SPARTA, one of the leading advocates for transgender military service, today announced Blake Dremann as the new Board Chair and President of SPARTA, and the addition of three new Board members: Jennifer Peace, Laila Ireland, and Danyiel Brustmeyer. Well-known advocates Allyson Robinson and Sue Fulton are stepping down from leadership, Robinson leaving the Board, and Fulton leaving her position as President.
Army veteran Robinson served as SPARTA's Policy Director, and led the strategy for repeal of the US military's transgender ban, working with other advocacy organizations and the Obama administration to achieve what many considered an impossible task. She became the first transgender person to lead a national LGBT rights organization when she was appointed Executive Director of OutServe-SLDN. She has been a leader in SPARTA since 2013.
"Most advocates believed lifting the ban on transgender military service would take a decade or more," said Robinson, who. "I'm proud to have been part of this effort, but even prouder of the new generation of transgender leaders we've developed in the service members of SPARTA."
Fulton led communications and media strategy for the effort to repeal the transgender ban, worked closely with Pentagon officials to formulate a plan that would increase military readiness. She organized pivotal meetings that enabled senior officials to meet transgender service members so they could better understand the issues. Fulton will stay on the Board temporarily to oversee grant administration.
"In the military, we develop leaders to replace us, and when it's time, we step aside and allow them to lead," said Fulton. "Blake Dremann is an outstanding Naval officer and a terrific leader to take SPARTA into the future, beside Brynn Tannehill, Jake Eleazer, and our new Board members Jennifer Peace, Laila Ireland, and Danyiel Brustmeyer. I couldn't be prouder of them."
"We all owe a debt to Sue and Allyson," said Dremann, who has served as SPARTA's treasurer. "Their political savvy and tenacity in engaging the Pentagon has not only benefited transgender service members, but has made our Armed Forces stronger. We look forward to carrying on the ideals and values of SPARTA and the United States military."
Fulton and Robinson, both West Point graduates, also worked on the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"; Robinson at Human Rights Campaign, and Fulton at Knights Out and OutServe.
About SPARTA: Founded in 2013, SPARTA is an association of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people who currently serve or have served in the U.S. armed forces and their families. Our mission is to advocate for and support our actively serving LGBT service members, veterans, and their families. As a membership organization, SPARTA exists by and for the LGBT military community. The name SPARTA originated as an acronym for "Servicemembers, Partners, and Allies for Respect and Tolerance for All."