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White House Appoints First Openly Transgender Staff Member

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Earlier today, the White House announced that it had appointed its first openly transgender staff member.

Raffi Freedman-Gurspan, a former policy advisor at the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE), makes history as she begins her new position as Outreach and Recruitment Director for Presidential Personnel in the White House Office of Presidential Personnel.

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

The Obama administration continues to make the Federal Government a safer and more supportive place for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) employees. Last year, President Obama signed an executive order to ban federal contractors from discriminating against employees based on sexual orientation or gender identity. And this April, the administration announced the opening of a gender-neutral bathroom in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, where many White House employees spend their days.

“That the first transgender appointee is a transgender woman of color is itself significant,” NCTE Executive Director Mara Keisling said. “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.”

Freedman-Gurspan previously made history as the first openly transgender woman to work at the Massachusetts State House.

“Raffi is a role model,” said Massachusetts state Rep. Carl Sciortino Jr. “As the first out transgender woman working at the Massachusetts State House, she showed leadership and courage, and among her many contributions, was instrumental in helping pass the Transgender Equal Rights Law.”

Sounds like an excellent addition to the administration! Congratulations, Raffi, and best of luck in your new position!

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Sources: CNN, ABC

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