Barack Obama appoints first-ever transgender White House staff member

Wednesday 19 August 2015 11:20

The White House has its first-ever transgender staff member.

Raffi Freedman-Gurspan has been appointed as outreach and recruitment director for presidential personnel at the White House Office of Presidential Personnel, Barack Obama's senior adviser Valerie Jarrett confirmed.

In a statement emailed to the Washington Post, Jarrett said Freedman-Gurspan "demonstrates the kind of leadership this administration champions".

She said:

Her commitment to bettering the lives of transgender Americans - particularly transgender people of colour and those in poverty - reflects the values of this administration.

Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Centre for Transgender Equality, commented:

President Obama has long said he wants his administration to look like the American people. I have understood this to include transgender Americans. A transgender person was inevitably going to work in the White House.

That the first transgender appointee is a transgender woman of colour is itself significant. And that the first White House transgender appointee is of a friend is inspiring to me and to countless others who have been touched by Raffi's advocacy.

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