Transgender Woman Appointed White House LGBT Liaison
President Obama appointed Raffi Freedman-Gurspan, a transgender woman, as LGBT Liaison for the White House on Monday. She becomes the first transgender person to be given the position. Freedman-Gurspan was previously a policy advisor for the National Center for Transgender Equality. Just this past August she was appointed by the White House as Outreach and Recruitment Director for Presidential Personnel.
“That the first transgender appointee is a transgender woman of color is itself significant.”
NCTE Executive Director Mara Keisling issued a statement upon hearing the news of the appointment:
“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.
Freedman-Gurspan was adopted and raised by a Jewish single mother in Brookline, Massachusetts. She would attend St. Olaf College in Minneapolis-St. Paul and then abroad in Norway after completing her sophomore year. It was in Norway where she would transition. Freedman-Gurspan would later become a transgender advocate. Her career began working as a legislative director for Massachusetts State Representative Carl M. Sciortino, Jr. She would later move to Washington D.C. to take a job with the National Center for Transgender Equality.
The position was created by President Bill Clinton in 1995. Freedman-Gurspan becomes the point of contact for all LGBT groups on all issues. Leaving the position was Aditi Hardikar, who left the post in January to join Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.