Meet the First Trans White House LGBT Liaison ever. His name is Rafael Martin Freedman-Gurspan. Most Americans (even Hispanic Americans), did not know that Gurspan had been successfully, albeit quietly working in the White House since first employed there by Obama himself. Positive office rumor has it that he is highly respected by Obama’s senior circle.

But it wasn’t until FRONTLINE followed Valerie Jarrett around her office while doing a documentary on Barack Obama’s last days in the White House that Gurspan was finally introduced to FRONTLINE’s viewers.

Guspan’s title was “Director of Outreach and Recruitment for Presidential Personnel.” Before working in the White House, Gurspan wore the title of “Policy Advisor at the National Center for Transgender Equality’s racial and economic justice initiative.”

Gurspan was born Rafael Martin to a Lenca family living in Intibucá, Honduras on May 3, 1987. The Lenca are the indigenous people of western Honduras and eastern El Salvador. Unable to be raised by his birth family, he was adopted as an infant by an American Jewish couple and grew up in Brookline, Massachusetts.

Rafael Martin Freedman-Gurspan self-identifies as an indigenous Central American, a Latin and a Jew. He goes by the name of “Raffi” which is short for Rafael.

White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett said in a statement. “His commitment to bettering the lives of transgender Americans, particularly transgender people of color and those in poverty, reflects the values of this Administration.”

During the last few hours of his presidency, Barack Hussein Obama focused most of his time embedding several of his old employees into new positions so that they would not be left unemployed once President Trump took office.

Gurspan is now a “Member, United States Holocaust Memorial Council.” Several White House employees were moved to the Holocaust Memorial Council.

He is a highly interesting person having attended St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota. During his junior year, he studied abroad at the University of Oslo Faculty of Law where he took classes in international law with a focus on human rights and gender equality.

He received his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Norwegian with a Concentration in Nordic Studies from St. Olaf College in 2009. He is a proficient Norwegian speaker.











After college, Freedman-Gurspan interned with the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (MTPC), where she focused on legislative and policy matters until May, 2011. She also assisted a women’s studies professor at Boston University from 2009 until 2011.

In January 2010, Freedman-Gurspan was hired by Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone of Somerville, Massachusetts to be the city’s LGBT Liaison.


It was through his work with MTPC and in Somerville that he met former Massachusetts State Representative Carl Sciortino of Medford and Somerville. Sciortino was one of the lead sponsors at the time of legislation in the legislature to expand state civil rights protections to transgender residents.

In July 2011, Gurspan became Sciortino’s legislative aide, and was the first openly transgender legislative staffer in the Massachusetts State House. He played an instrumental role in helping Sciortino pass the transgender civil rights bill in November of 2011. Former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick signed the bill into law by January 2012.  Gurspan worked as Sciortino’s staffer until Sciortino retired from the Massachusetts House of Representatives in the spring of 2014.

In July 2014, Freedman-Gurspan was hired by the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) and moved to Washington, DC. He worked as NCTE’s Policy Advisor, and focused on matters for transgender people of color and those living in poverty. Her work included criminal justice and incarceration reform, immigration detention conditions, housing and homeless shelter policies, and sustainable economic development opportunities for transgender people in the United States.

The White House established its first Gender-Neutral Bathroom. The “all-gender bathroom” was first made available in 2015, the same day Obama’s executive order expanding protections for federal employees against discrimination became federal law, White House spokesman Jeff Tiller told media members.

Though the gender-neutral bathroom is located in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, anyone can use whatever bathroom they feel best fits their gender identity, Tiller said. The Eisenhower Executive Office Building is located near the West Wing of the White House and used by White House staff.

“The White House allows staff and guests to use restrooms consistent with their gender identity, which is in keeping with the administration’s existing legal guidance on this issue and consistent with what is required by the executive order that took effect for federal contractors,” Tiller told ABC News in a prepared statement.

On August 18, 2015, Rafael Martin Freedman-Gurspan was hired by President Barack Obama as an Outreach and Recruitment Director in the Presidential Personnel Office at the White House.

He became the first openly transgender person in history to be a staff member at the White House.

In 2016 it was announced that President Barack Obama had appointed Freedman-Gurspan as the White House’s primary LGBT liaison, making him the first openly transgender person in the role. He served in this role at the White House until January 6, 2017.

Not expecting President Trump to keep Rafael Martin Freedman-Gurspan in his position, former president Obama assigned Rafael to a post as “Member, United States Holocaust Memorial Council.”

The LGBT section of the WhiteHouse.gov website is no longer visible.