WASHINGTON (CBSDC) —  The White House announced Tuesday that it has hired its first openly transgender employee.

Raffi Freedman-Gurspan, a former policy adviser at the National Center for Transgender Equality, has been appointed outreach and recruitment director for the White House Office of Presidential Personnel.

White House Senior Adviser Valerie Jarret said that the new staffer “demonstrates the kind of leadership this administration champions… Her commitment to bettering the lives of transgender Americans — particularly transgender people of color and those in poverty — reflects the values this administration.”

While the administration has previously hired transgender staff members, Freedman-Gurspan is the first to work directly in the White House, as noted by The New York Times. LGBT rights advocates have applauded Obama and his administration for their support of the community, including a recent call to end “conversion therapy” aimed at gay, lesbian and transgender youth.

“President Obama has long said he wants his Administration to look like the American people. I have understood this to include transgender Americans,” Mara Keisling, executive director of the NCTE, said in a statement. “That the first transgender appointee is a transgender woman of color is itself significant.”


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