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Politics

Just a long list of LGBT+ people Joe Biden has appointed to his defiant, kaleidoscopic administration

Emma Powys Maurice January 21, 2021
Biden administration

Karine Jean-Pierre, Pete Buttigieg and Rachel Levine are among the many LGBT+ appointees in Biden's diverse new administration (Getty)

As Joe Biden enters the White House he brings with him the most racially diverse cabinet in US history – and that’s just the start.

His groundbreaking team includes a broad spectrum of LGBT+ officials in key roles, whose appointments are turning the tide on the mostly male, pale and stale contingent led by Donald Trump.

Here are some of the queer people breaking the glass ceiling as members of the Biden-Harris administration.

Pete Buttigieg, transport secretary.

Joe Biden’s former political rival should soon be working alongside him in his cabinet, making him the first out LGBT+ person in US history to hold a full-time cabinet post, if confirmed by the Senate.

The role puts Buttigieg in charge of the department’s $72billion budget and 58,000-strong workforce, overseeing the country’s transport infrastructure.

“This is a moment of tremendous opportunity – to create jobs, meet the climate challenge, and enhance equity for all,” Buttigieg said when his nomination was announced. “I’m honoured that the president-elect has asked me to serve our nation as secretary of transportation.”

Rachel Levine, assistant secretary of health.

The trailblazing trans doctor leading Pennsylvania through the coronavirus epidemic has been tapped for a prominent role in Joe Biden’s administration.

Her nomination represents a long sought-after leap in political representation for the embattled trans community, and a tremendous turning point after Trump’s sustained attacks on trans rights.

Carlos Elizondo, social secretary.

The openly gay veteran aide became the first LGBT+ appointee to the Biden-Harris team in November. In this role, Elizondo will be in charge of the White House social office, overseeing all official social events.

He should be able to hit the ground running as he was also social secretary when Biden was vice-president. He is the first Hispanic person to hold the role.

Karine Jean-Pierre, deputy White House press secretary.

Jean-Pierre is a Haitian immigrant who served as Kamala Harris’ chief of staff during the Biden campaign. A seasoned campaigner, activist and strategist, she’s now the first out lesbian and first Black woman to hold the key media-facing role.

She is among four women of colour filling the seven top communications jobs in the White House.

Pili Tobar, deputy White House communications director.

Working alongside Jean-Pierre is Pili Tobar, an out lesbian who served as communications director for the Biden campaign before joining his administration full time.

The Guatemalan-American political advisor previously worked as an aide to senator Chuck Schumer, and is also an immigration rights advocate.

Stuart Delery, White House deputy counsel.

Delery is a gay man who served during the Obama years as acting US associate attorney general. At the time he was the most senior openly LGBT+ official in the US justice department’s history.

In 2012 he represented the Obama administration in challenging the anti-gay Defence of Marriage Act.

Gautam Raghavan, deputy director of the presidential personnel office.

Another familiar face from the Obama-Biden administration, Raghavan is a gay man who previously served as White House LGBTQ liaison.

The seasoned political advisor worked with the LGBT+, Asian American and Pacific Islander communities between 2011 and 2014, bridging a discourse on marriage equality, trans rights and discrimination.

More: joe biden, Karine Jean-Pierre, LGBT+ cabinet, Pete Buttigieg, Rachel Levine

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