White House Appoints First Trans Woman To Top LGBT-Issues Post

Photo: Evan Vucci/AP Photo.
LGBTQ groups have praised President Barack Obama's decision to appoint Raffi Freedman-Gurspan as the White House's liaison for LGBT issues. The White House hired Freedman-Gurspan, who is a transgender woman, in August as the director of outreach and recruitment for its personnel office.

When Freedman-Gurspan was hired last year, she became the White House's first openly transgender staffer, and also the first publicly trans person to serve as LGBT liaison. She has recently been promoted, and her new title is Outreach and Recruitment Director for Presidential Personnel and Associate Director for Public Engagement. She'll now serve as the primary White House point of contact for LGBT issues, officials told BuzzFeed on Monday.

"We believe it is a tremendous decision by the White House to recognise Raffi's leadership, as well as the importance of having transgender leadership in an important role for the community," JoDee Winterhof, the Human Rights Campaign's senior vice president of policy and political affairs, told BuzzFeed.

Before working at the White House, Freedman-Gurspan was a policy adviser at the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE). She has also served as a legislative director for the Massachusetts House of Representatives.

"President Obama has long said he wants his administration to look like the American people," Mara Keisling, executive director of the NCTE, said in a statement when Freedman-Gurspan was first hired at the White House. "I have understood this to include transgender Americans."

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