LGBT cheer: White House hires first transgender 'woman of colour' | world | Hindustan Times
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LGBT cheer: White House hires first transgender 'woman of colour'

world Updated: Aug 19, 2015 09:42 IST
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Raffi Freedman-Gurspan, the first transgender official to be hired by the White House. Freedman-Gurspan's was appointed as an outreach and recruitment director for presidential personnel in the Office of Personnel. (National Center for Transgender Equality via AP Photo)

The White House said on Tuesday it had hired its first openly transgender official, a move which supporters said emphasised the Obama administration's drive against inequality.

Officials said former activist Raffi Freedman-Gurspan began work on Tuesday, in a team that recruits personnel to serve President Barack Obama.

"Raffi Freedman-Gurspan demonstrates the kind of leadership this administration champions," said Valerie Jarrett, a senior advisor to the President.

"Her commitment to bettering the lives of transgender Americans, particularly transgender people of colour and those in poverty, reflects the values of this administration."

Freedman-Gurspan will act as outreach and recruitment director in the White House personnel office.

She previously worked on improving conditions for transgender prisoners, policing, detention of transgender immigrants and violence against transgender women.

"A transgender person was inevitably going to work in the White House," said Mara Keisling of Freedman-Gurspan's former employer, the National Center for Transgender Equality.

"That the first transgender appointee is a transgender woman of colour is itself significant."

The Obama administration has supported efforts to advance the rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (LGBTQ) Americans, amid conservative opposition.

After years of sitting on the fence, Obama himself has voiced support for gay marriage and praised a Supreme Court ruling legalising same-sex marriages.