On Tuesday, transgender woman Raffi Freedman-Gurspan became a White House staffer. She previously worked as a policy advisor for the National Center for Transgender Equality, and now she’s an Outreach and Recruitment Director for the White House personnel office, according to The Advocate. Freedman-Gurspan was born in Honduras; she was adopted and raised by a single mother in Brookline, Massachusetts. She graduated from St. Olaf College in 2009, and already proudly displays her new job on her LinkedIn and Facebook accounts.
Even though she’s not the first trans woman hired by the White House, she’s a symbol of the strides being made by the community. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to celebrate Freedman-Gurspan’s accomplishments without looking at the bigger picture. This year, members of the trans community have been killed at historic rates, as Time reports. A majority of them were women of color.
Orange is the New Black star Laverne Cox, who was a guest on Good Morning America, said the community is “reeling” after the death of nearly 20 transgender women, with Tamara Dominguez being one of the latest victims. Cox called it a state of emergency. “Your life should not be in danger simply for being who you are,” she said. She added that different kinds of discrimination – employment, housing, and healthcare – are the reasons so many transgender women deal with violence.
Watch her interview below: