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The American Military Partner Association (AMPA), the nation’s largest organization of LGBT military spouses, families, and allies, is thrilled to announce that Aaron Belkin will be honored with the AMPA Distinguished Leadership Award at the inaugural AMPA West Coast Gala on Saturday, September 17, 2016, in San Diego, CA.

“Aaron Belkin is a champion of equality for LGBT service members and their families,” said AMPA President Ashley Broadway-Mack. “Through research and persistent advocacy, he is a formidable and scholarly voice at the forefront of the fight to ensure all service members and their family members, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, are treated fairly with dignity and respect. We are proud to honor him with our Distinguished Leadership Award at the inaugural AMPA West Coast Gala in San Diego.””

Join our nation’s LGBT service members, veterans, military spouses, and allies at the incredible event as we celebrate the five-year anniversary of the end of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) and the recent end to the military’s ban on open service by transgender people.

Aaron Belkin is a scholar and advocate who has served as founding director of the Palm Center since 1999. Belkin designed and implemented much of the public education campaign that eroded popular support for military anti-LGBT discrimination, and when DADT was repealed, the president of the Evelyn and Walter Haas Jr. Fund observed that, “this day never would have arrived (or it would have been a much longer wait) without the persistent, grinding work of the Palm Center.”  Harvard Law Professor Janet Halley said of Belkin that, “Probably no single person deserves more credit for the repeal of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’”

Belkin summarized the keys to successful advocacy in How We Won: Progressive Lessons from the Repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”, which Arianna Huffington referred to as a, “best practices guide for civil rights fights.” Research by Belkin and the Palm Center has been covered widely by the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times and the Associated Press, and by television and radio networks including ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, PBS and BBC. The day that Defense Secretary Ashton Carter repealed the military’s transgender ban in June 2016, Rachel Maddow said that Belkin “has done I think almost more than anybody to document and explain the whole process around these kinds of big policy changes.”

Belkin has written and edited more than thirty scholarly articles, chapters and books, the most recent of which is a study of military masculinity published by Oxford University Press in 2012. The Advocate has named the Palm Center as one of the most effective LGBT rights organizations in the nation.

As previously announced, U.S. Air Force Major General Trish Rose, the highest ranking openly LGBT U.S. service member, will also be honored at the event.

The inaugural AMPA West Coast Gala will take place in San Diego, California, on Saturday, September 17, 2016, at the San Diego Sheraton Hotel & Marina. The event comes on the heels of the organization’s incredibly successful 3rd Annual National Gala in Washington, DC, this past May, where Secretary of the Army Eric Fanning, was honored and gave the keynote address. Tickets and more information can be found at

Need help covering the cost of tickets? Don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We’re committed to making sure anyone and everyone who wants to be there is able to join us. Email us at

West Coast Gala