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News > World

White House Hires First Openly Transgender Employee

  • Raffi Freedman-Gurspan is originally from Honduras.

    Raffi Freedman-Gurspan is originally from Honduras. | Photo: Facebook/Raffi Freedman-Gurspan

Published 18 August 2015
Opinion

Former activist Raffi Freedman-Gurspan was hired as director of outreach and recruitment for the White House personnel office.

The White House’s first openly transgender member of staff started work at the West Wing this week.

Former activist Raffi Freedman-Gurspan was hired as director of outreach and recruitment for the White House personnel office, having previously worked as policy advisor at the National Center for Transgender Equality.

“Raffi Freedman-Gurspan demonstrates the kind of leadership this administration champions,” Valerie Jarrett, senior adviser to President Obama, told the Washington Blade.

RELATED: Trans Liberation Doesn't Come From a Military Uniform

The appointment of Freedman-Gurspan, who is originally from Honduras, is part of a push by the White House to promote LGBT equality. Another such measure was the legalization of equal marriage in June this year.

“Her commitment to bettering the lives of transgender Americans, particularly transgender people of color and those in poverty, reflects the values of this administration,” Jarrett added.

RELATED: Interrupting Power: The Struggle for Trans and Migrant Rights

Obama’s administration has received fierce scrutiny from trans communities, who still face disproportionately high rates of violent crime and abuse in prisons and immigration detention centers.

After the new legislation was passed, the Transgender Law Center said, “we must also work to end the detention of transgender immigrants, stop the ongoing criminalization and murder of Black communities, and ensure all transgender and gender nonconforming people have the opportunity to stay alive and thrive as their authentic selves.”

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