Jewish Transgender Woman Appointed Senior LGBT Liaison to White House

Raffi Freedman-Gurspan was 'a powerful leader for trans inclusion' in her Brookline synagogue, says Jewish LGBT advocacy group.

JTA
JTA
Raffi Freedman-Gurspan, the first transgender White House official. August 18, 2015.
Raffi Freedman-Gurspan, the first transgender White House official. August 18, 2015.Credit: Associated Press
JTA
JTA

Less than a year after becoming the first openly transgender person to serve in the White House, a Jewish woman has been promoted to serve as its senior liaison to the LGBT community.

Raffi Freedman-Gurspan, a Honduras native who was raised in Brookline, Massachusetts, by Jewish parents, will serve as the White House’s “lead point of contact” for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender groups, BuzzFeed News reported Monday.

Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, Freedman-Gurspan’s former employer, praised the appointment.

“Raffi’s skills and personality make her the exact right person for this important job,” Keislin told BuzzFeed.

Freedman-Gurspan, who is in her late 20s, was “a powerful leader for trans inclusion” in her Brookline synagogue, Temple Beth Zion, according to the Jewish LGBT advocacy group Keshet. She also was active in the Jewish Student Union as an undergraduate at St. Olaf College in Minneapolis.

Although Freedman-Gurspan was the first transgender White House staffer, another Jewish woman, Amanda Simpson, was the first transgender individual to hold a position in the U.S. executive branch. U.S. President Barack Obama appointed Simpson in 2010 to senior technical adviser in the Bureau of Industry and Security at the Department of Commerce.

Click the alert icon to follow topics:

Comments

SUBSCRIBERS JOIN THE CONVERSATION FASTER

Automatic approval of subscriber comments.

Subscribe today and save 40%

Already signed up? LOG IN

ICYMI

From the cover of 'Shmutz.'

'There Are Similarities Between the Hasidic Community and Pornography’

A scene from Netflix's "RRR."

‘RRR’: If Cocaine Were a Movie, It Would Look Like This

Prime Minister Yair Lapid.

Yair Lapid's Journey: From Late-night Host to Israel's Prime Minister

Lake Kinneret. The high water level created lagoons at the northern end of the lake.

Lake Kinneret as You’ve Never Experienced It Before

An anti-abortion protester holds a cross in front of the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C.

Roe v. Wade: The Supreme Court Leaves a Barely United States

Yair Lapid.

Yair Lapid Is the Most Israeli of All