Meet Raffi Freedman-Gurspan, the first openly transgender official appointed to the Whitehouse. starting today, the former Racial and Economic Justice Initiative Policy Advisor at the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) will be serving as an Outreach and Recruitment Director in the Presidential Personnel Office.
Wile other transgender folks have worked in government service, Freedman-Gurspan is believed to be the first to work at 1600 Pennsylvania avenue.
“Raffi Freedman-Gurspan demonstrates the kind of leadership this Administration champions.” Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to President Obama, told The Advocate. “Her commitment to bettering the lives of transgender Americans, particularly transgender people of color and those in poverty, reflects the values of this Administration.”
Mara Keisling, Executive Director of NCTE, praised Freedman-Gurspan in a statement emailed to The Advocate. “President Obama has long said he wants his Administration to look like the American people,” Keisling said. “That the first transgender appointee is a transgender woman of color is itself significant. And that the first White House transgender appointee is of a friend is inspiring to me and to countless others who have been touched by Raffi’s advocacy.”
“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 colorand those living in poverty. Her work included advocacy on issues such as 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.”