White House Hires First Transgender Staff Member

By on 20/08/2015 | Updated on 25/09/2020
White House Hires First Transgender Staff Member, Raffi Freedman-Gurspan

The White House has hired its first openly transgender full-time member of staff, according to media reports.

Raffi Freedman-Gurspan started working as an outreach and recruitment director for presidential staff yesterday.

It is president Barack Obama’s latest move in support of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender rights.

Valerie Jarrett, a senior adviser to Obama, said: “Raffi Freedman-Gurspan demonstrates the kind of leadership this administration champions.

“Her commitment to bettering the lives of transgender Americans, particularly transgender people of color and those in poverty, reflects the values of this administration.”

Freedman-Gurspan previously worked as a policy adviser for the National Center for Transgender Equality (NTCE) – a national social justice organisation devoted to ending discrimination and violence against transgender people.

NCTE executive director Mara Keisling said Freedman-Gurspan’s “experience and knowledge of how to accomplish policy change, as well as her core commitment to racial and economic justice, has made NCTE’s work better.”

The appointment comes after the Obama administration has taken several steps to show support for the LGBT community, CNN reports: Last year, Obama signed executive orders that banned federal contractors from discriminating against employees due to their sexual orientation or gender identity.

And in April, the president condemned therapies that tried to “fix” gay and transgender youth and announced the creation of a gender-neutral bathroom in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, home to many White House employees.

The BBC reported yesterday that the U.S. Department of Defense is reviewing its ban on transgender men and women from serving in the military, and that the White House welcomed that move.

About Winnie Agbonlahor

Winnie is news editor of Global Government Forum. She previously reported for Civil Service World - the trade magazine for senior UK government officials. Originally from Germany, Winnie first came to the UK in 2006 to study a BA in Journalism & Russian at the University of Sheffield. She is bilingual in English and German, and, after spending an academic year abroad in Russia and reporting for the Moscow Times, Winnie also speaks Russian fluently.

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