White House appoints first openly transgender officialEntertainment News, Online Only, Section 4A, Top Highlights Tuesday, August 18th, 2015
WASHINGTON, D.C. – National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) staff member Raffi Freedman-Gurspan has been appointed as an outreach and recruitment director for Presidential Personnel in the White House Office of Presidential Personnel. Freedman-Gurspan is the first openly transgender official in history to serve in the White House. She previously served as NCTE’s Policy Advisor for the Racial and Economic Justice Initiative.
NCTE Executive Director Mara Keisling said, “I am elated that Raffi Freedman-Gurspan will become the first openly transgender staff member at the White House. 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 color 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.
“Raffi’s decade of experience brings important qualities to this historic appointment. She has been a vital part of NCTE focusing on the experiences of transgender people of color and those living in poverty. Her work included advocacy on issues such as improving the conditions for transgender prisoners, addressing biased policing against transgender communities, limiting the use of detention for undocumented transgender immigrants, and finding solutions to address violence against transgender women of color. Her 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.”
Valerie Jarrett, senior adviser to President Obama, welcomed the addition of Freedman-Gurspan to the White House in a statement to the Washington Blade. “Raffi Freedman-Gurspan demonstrates the kind of leadership this administration champions,” Jarrett said. “Her commitment to bettering the lives of transgender Americans, particularly transgender people of color and those in poverty, reflects the values of this administration.”
According to the White House Web site, the Office of Presidential Personnel oversees the selection process for presidential appointments and works to recruit qualified candidates for service in departments and agencies across the government.
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