Raffi Freedman-Gurspan, a transgender woman of color, is the White House’s newest employee. And while the Obama administration has several transgender staffers, she is the first to work directly for the president.
In an email statement to the Washington Post, the White House said Freedman-Gurspan, 28, has been appointed outreach and recruitment director for presidential personnel because of the leadership she has shown in advancing transgender rights.
According to her LinkedIn profile, Freedman-Gurspan studied political science and, after graduating in 2009, has been working in non-governmental organizations, academia, and think tanks focusing on LGBT issues.
Freedman-Gurspan’s appointment generated praise from leaders in the human rights and LGBT communities, according to a press release distributed by the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE). They expressed hope she will leverage her new position to keep promoting transgender rights. Wade Henderson, president of The Leadership Conference for Civil and Human Rights, quoted the old saying: “If you’re not in the room, then you can’t possibly be at the table.”
“President Obama has long said he wants his Administration to look like the American people,” wrote Mara Keisling, director of NCTE, in the release. “A transgender person was inevitably going to work in the White House.”