In his two terms in the White House, President Barack Obama has presided over the most diverse administration that the United States has ever seen, appointing more minorities and women than any other Commander in Chief before him. This week, Obama proved his commitment to diversity yet again when he elected Raffi Freedman-Gurspan as the White House's lead LGBT liaison, the first transgender person to hold that position.
Freedman-Gurspan — a Honduran-born Jewish Latina who made history as the White House's first ever openly transgender staffer last year — was appointed as the Outreach & Recruitment Director for Presidential Personnel and Associate Director for Public Engagement, a wordy title that basically means she will serve as the administration's main point of contact for LGBT groups.
"Raffi is a great choice," Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, told BuzzFeed News. "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."
The evolution of the country's attitudes on LGBT rights is evident in the people who have held this role in the White House. After the Clinton administration created the position, the first person to occupy it was Marsha Scott in 1995. She was straight.
After Scott came cisgender gays and lesbians in the Clinton and Obama administrations. Before Freedman-Gurspan, the White House's primary LGBT liaison was Aditi Hardikar, who left in January to join Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign.
Cover image via Mark Wilson / Getty Images News.