US & Canada

White House hires first transgender member of staff

An undated handout photo shows newly appointed White House staff member Raffi Freedman-Gurspan posing for a photo at Thomas Circle in Washington DC, USA Image copyright EPA
Image caption Raffi Freedman-Gurspan was an adviser for the National Center for Transgender Equality

The White House has hired its first openly transgender full-time member of staff, officials have confirmed.

Raffi Freedman-Gurspan started working as an outreach and recruitment director for presidential staff on Tuesday.

Her commitment to transgender rights reflects "the values of this administration," a senior White House official said.

It is President Barack Obama's latest move in support of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender rights.

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

Ms Freedman-Gurspan previously worked as a policy adviser for the National Center for Transgender Equality (NTCE).

Her appointment to the White House has been hailed as an important step by key members of the LGBT community.

"Our government works best when it reflects the reality of who we are as Americans," said Aisha Moodie-Mills, the head of the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund and Institute.

The Department of Defense is reviewing its ban on transgender men and women from serving in the military, and the White House has said it welcomes that move.

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