White House Hires First Openly Transgender Staffer — and She’s a Jewish Trans Woman of Color
And she's not alone in the administration!
Raffi Freedman-Gurspan was already a prominent activist for transgender rights and was the policy adviser at the National Center for Transgender Equality. Now, she’s worked her way up to the most famous address in the US – 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue – becoming the first openly transgender staffer at the White House.
Freedman-Gurspan is now the outreach and recruitment director in the White House Office of Presidential Personnel, which sounds like it places her in a position of power to encourage additional diversity on staff. Valerie Garrett, senior adviser to President Obama, had this to say about hiring Freedman-Gurspan:
[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 this administration.
Despite being the first openly transgender staffer at the White House, she’s not the only openly trans person in the administration. According to The New York Times:
The appointment follows several other transgender hires in the administration, including at the Defense Department and the Environmental Protection Agency. But White House officials said Ms. Freedman-Gurspan was the first to be hired to work directly in the White House.
Activists have praised Mr. Obama for his activism on behalf of gay, lesbian and transgender people, especially since announcing that he had “evolved” on the issue of same-sex marriage. This year, the administration called for an end to “conversion therapy” aimed at “repairing” gay, lesbian and transgender youth.
It’s great to see that someone like Freedman-Gurspan, who’s already devoted herself and her career to lifting up and improving the lives of others has been given her due and allowed the opportunity to continue her work for the highest office in the land. And being that she’s Jewish, trans, and of color, she’s giving a lot of people reason to celebrate today!
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