Eric Salard / flickr (CC by 2.0) | Remix by Max Fleishman

Meet the White House’s first transgender LGBT liaison

The White House's first transgender staffer has been promoted.


Mary Emily O'Hara


Published Mar 15, 2016   Updated May 27, 2021, 2:17 am CDT

In the realm of ‘firsts,’ Raffi Freedman-Gurspan keeps pushing the line forward.

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Last August, Freedman-Gurspan became the first openly transgender White House staffer when she was hired to fill a position as Outreach and Recruitment Director in the Presidential Personnel Office. 

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Prior to joining the Obama administration, Freedman-Gurspan served as a policy director at D.C.’s National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) after working her way up through a variety of government positions in Massachusetts. The Brookline, Massachusetts, native—who was born in Honduras and raised by Jewish adoptive parents—was also the first transgender legislative staffer in the Massachusetts House of Representatives.

Freedman-Gurspan was promoted on Monday, becoming the White House’s official LGBT community liaison. The post had previously belonged to Aditi Hardikar, an Indian-American woman who also served as liaison to the Asian-American and Pacific Islander communities. Hardikar left the position to work full-time on Hillary Clinton‘s presidential campaign.

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Buzzfeed‘s Dominic Holden first broke the news on Monday, quoting NCTE executive director Mara Keisling on the historic announcement.

“Raffi is a great choice,” Keisling told Buzzfeed. “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.”

Freedman-Gurspan’s promotion to top LGBT liaison was celebrated not only in LGBT American media, but across Latin American news outlets and Jewish news outlets as well.

Photo via Eric Salard/Flickr (CC BY 2.0) | Remix by Max Fleishman

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*First Published: Mar 15, 2016, 3:32 pm CDT