US president Barack Obama has appointed a gay man as his social secretary.

Jeremy Bernard, a special adviser to the US ambassador to France and a long-time supporter and fund-raiser, will take over the high-profile position.

The job of social secretary is traditionally filled by a woman and involves planning White House hospitality, such as state dinners, galas, holiday events and tours.

The social secretary also provides support for the First Lady.

The president said: “Jeremy shares our vision for the White House as the People’s House, one that celebrates our history and culture in dynamic and inclusive ways. We look forward to Jeremy continuing to showcase America’s arts and culture to our nation and the world through the many events at the White House.”

Mr Bernard, who has been involved in gay rights work, said: “I am deeply humbled to join the White House staff as social secretary and support President Obama and the First Lady in this role.

“I have long admired the arts and education programs that have become hallmarks of the Obama White House and I am eager to continue these efforts in the years ahead.”