The American Military Partner Association (www.MilitaryPartners.org) is the nation's premier support and resource network for the partners/spouses of LGBT servicemembers and veterans. Launched originally in 2009 as the "Campaign for Military Partners" by Servicemembers United, America's gay military organization, this first-of-its-kind initiative grew substantially over the course of the ensuing two years and graduated to become the American Military Partner Association on September 20, 2011 - the day that the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law was officially repealed.
Throughout the years of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, gay and lesbian servicemembers were forced to either forego a relationship and a family or go to great lengths to hide their relationships in order to continue to serve in the armed forces. This situation rendered the committed civilian partners of gay and lesbian servicemembers virtually invisible. They could not be acknowledged, they could not be brought to unit or military functions, they could not access spouse and family support networks, and they were denied the family readiness services made available to the spouses and partners of heterosexual troops. This isolation was always particularly devastating when same-sex couples had to move together to rural posts and bases and especially when the active duty servicemember was deployed overseas.
It is this disadvantaged plight that motivated Servicemembers United and the American Military Partner Association to step up back in 2009 and begin to serve this underserved - and often ignored - part of our American military family. In the true historic tradition of military spouses pulling together and figuring out how to support one another on their own during World War II and the Vietnam era, the American Military Partner Association began as an effort to identify, connect, support, and recognize the often ignored and frequently isolated civilian partners of gay and lesbian military personnel. Founded by Servicemembers United in 2009 as a project called the Campaign for Military Partners, the initiative grew to include hundreds and hundreds of military partners across the country and even across the world.
The American Military Partner Association has also worked tirelessly to spread the word about the existence and unique needs of the partners of gay and lesbian servicemembers. Dozens of stories were successfully pitched to major national media outlets, resulting in a national spotlight being continuously shown on these silent heroes for the first time in American history. But simply drawing the public's attention to the plight of isolated and under-supported military partners was only the start of how we have been helping military partners for more than two years.
The American Military Partner Association launched and maintains the website MilitaryPartners.org as the internet's premier information resource for the partners of gay and lesbian servicemembers. We have engaged in a systematic outreach campaign to military partners in order to let them know about our organization and the resources and network now available to them and to make them start to finally feel like a welcomed part of the wider gay and lesbian military community. After proactively building up a membership, we conducted a first-ever survey of military partners in order to identify and explore the unique needs, challenges, and issues they face on a regular basis. This information was aggregated and analyzed, and it formed the basis of an informative, one-of-a-kind report on gay and lesbian military partner and couple issues submitted by Servicemembers United to the Comprehensive Review Working Group on "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."
Find out more at www.militarypartners.org