Obama Appoints First Openly Transgender Official

Fourth Estate Staff

Washington, DC, United States (4E) – A transgender woman made history by becoming the first such person to work as a White House official.

Former National Center for Transgender Equality ( NCTE ) staff member Raffi Freedman-Gurspan was hired Tuesday as Outreach and Recruitment Director in the White House Office of Presidential Personnel.

Gurspan , a Hispanic, was appointed for her leadership and work in improving the lives of transgender Americans, particularly transgender people of color and those in poverty, Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor to the president, said in a statement.

NCTE Executive Director Mara Keisling was elated over the hiring of Gurspan because she is a transgender woman of color.

“Raffi’s decade of experience brings important qualities to this historic appointment. She has been a vital part of NCTE focusing on the experiences of transgender people of color and those living in poverty,” Keisling said in a press statement. “Her experience and knowledge of how to accomplish policy change, as well as her core commitment to racial and economic justice, has made NCTE’s work better.”

Gurspan advocated improving the conditions for transgender prisoners, addressing biased policing against transgender communities, limiting the use of detention for undocumented transgender immigrants, and finding solutions to address violence against transgender women of color, according to Keisling .

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