White House Hires Its First Openly Transgender Staffer

"Raffi Freedman-Gurspan demonstrates the kind of leadership this Administration champions."

President Barack Obama's administration has appointed the first-ever transgender White House staffer.

Raffi Freedman-Gurspan, a transgender woman, is the outreach and recruitment director for presidential personnel in the White House Office of Presidential Personnel. She started her new job Tuesday.

Previously, Freedman-Gurspan was a staff member at the National Center for Transgender Equality, where she served as policy adviser for the organization's Racial and Economic Justice Initiative.

“President Obama has long said he wants his Administration to look like the American people,” NCTE Executive Director Mara Keisling said. “That the first transgender appointee is a transgender woman of color is itself significant.”

Valerie Jarrett, a White House senior adviser, echoed Keisling's sentiments.

“Raffi Freedman-Gurspan demonstrates the kind of leadership this Administration champions,” Jarrett said 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.”

Dylan Orr was the first-ever transgender presidential political appointee in 2009, serving as a special assistant for the Labor Department’s Office of Disability Employment Policy. The following year, Amanda Simpson became the first openly transgender female political appointee when she became the senior technical adviser to the Commerce Department.

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