US president Barack Obama has nominated a lesbian as commissioner of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Chai R Feldblum is thought to be the first openly gay person to be nominated to the commission.

She is a professor of law at the Georgetown University Law Centre and has extensive experience in legal issues affecting gay people, such as the Employee Non-Discrimination Act and HIV-related law.

In a statement referring to all the nominees, President Obama said: “This group brings a dedication and expertise in their fields that will serve this administration and the American people well.

“As we work to advance equal rights, keep our nation safe, and put our country back on a path to prosperity, I look forward to working with these fine individuals in the months and years ahead.”

If the Senate confirms Feldblum’s appointment, she will serve a five-year term.