President Obama has promoted the first openly transgender person to work in the West Wing to be the White House’s top liaison to the LGBT community.
Raffi Freedman-Gurspan, who is Jewish, has been serving as the Outreach and Recruitment Director in the White House Office of Presidential Personnel since last year.
Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, praised the decision.
She told Buzzfeed: “Raffi is a great choice,” she said. “President Obama has said he wants his administration to look like America, and they have moved to include trans Americans. Raffi’s skills and personality make her the exact right person for this important job.”
Freedman-Gurspan was born in Intibuca, Honduras and adopted as an infant by a Brookline, Massachusetts family.
She attended St. Olaf College in St. Paul, Minnesota and after graduating interned with the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition.
Massachusetts State Representative Carl Sciorino hired her as his legislative aide, making her the first openly transgender staffer in the Massachusetts State House.
The liaison post was previously held by Aditi Hardikar, who was appointed in 2014 but stepped down to join Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.