White House Appoints First Transgender Official

| by Amanda Andrade-Rhoades

Raffi Freedman-Gurspan has been named the new outreach and recruitment director for presidential personnel in the White House Office of Presidential Personnel, but the 28-year-old’s new job represents a groundbreaking moment for the LGBT community. 

Freedman-Gurspan is the first transgender official to serve in the White House, ABC News reported.

She "demonstrates the kind of leadership this Administration champions," Valerie Jarrett, White House senior adviser, told ABC News in a statement. "Her commitment to bettering the lives of transgender Americans, particularly transgender people of color and those in poverty, reflects the values of this Administration.”

In her new role, Freedman-Gurspan will direct presidential staffers who recruit people in the government. Her office also ensures that personnel issues in the administration are being met. 

Prior to this appointment, Freedman-Gurspan was a policy adviser for the National Center for Transgender Equality's racial and economic justice initiative, Associated Press reported. Her former coworkers sang her praises.

"I am elated that Raffi Freedman-Gurspan will become the first openly transgender staff member at the White House," NCTE executive director Mara Keisling said in a statement. "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.”

Sources: ABC News, Associated Press Image via National Center for Transgender Equality/Associated Press