August 2, 2011 | by Chris Johnson
White House close to naming new LGBT liaison

The White House (Blade file photo by Michael Key)

The White House is close to naming its new LGBT liaison and has already designated an official within the Obama administration for the role, the Washington Blade has learned.

According to two sources, the official who will replace Brian Bond, deputy director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, after he departs this month identifies as LGBT and is currently working within the executive branch of government.

The sources declined to identify the new LGBT liaison; it’s unclear when the White House will officially announce the new official.

Shin Inouye, a White House spokesperson, said he has “no updates” on the identity of the new LGBT liaison. Inouye previously said the Obama administration intends to have someone in place to succeed Bond by the time he leaves in the middle of this month.

Bond, who handled outreach to the LGBT community as part of his portfolio, is leaving the White House to become the Democratic National Committee’s director of constituency outreach as President Obama ramps up his re-election campaign for 2012.

In the wake of Bond’s announcement that he would leave the position, some LGBT advocates have been calling for the appointment of a more senior LGBT adviser who could more directly and consistently counsel Obama on LGBT issues.

One Democratic source, speaking on condition of anonymity, expressed skepticism that there would be any modifications to Bond’s position after he leaves because senior White House officials have been happy with Bond’s work.

“I know that [senior adviser to the president Valerie] Jarrett is extremely fond of [Bond] and thinks he’s done a fantastic job,” the source said. “I’m pretty confident that they want someone who has the same qualities, but I don’t know what candidate they have.”

A number of individuals within the administration who identify as LGBT could be candidates for the position. According to the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, more than 200 LGBT people have been appointed to serve in the Obama administration, and more than 25 of those were nominated for Senate-confirmable positions.

Vic Basile, who currently serves as counselor to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management director John Berry, is one potential candidate for the role because of his ties to the LGBT community. Basile and Berry are gay and have been seen as having an advisory role to the White House on LGBT issues.

A longtime LGBT activist, Basile served as the first executive director of the Human Rights Campaign from 1983 to 1989 and later co-founded the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund in 1991.

Basile couldn’t immediately be reached for comment on whether he’s a contender for the position.

Another name that has emerged in speculation about Bond’s successor is Matt Nosanchuk, who joined the Justice Department in 2009 as senior counselor to the assistant attorney general for the civil rights division and as LGBT liaison for the department. Among his duties was oversight of the implementation of the new federal hate crimes law.

Nosanchuk has also worked on LGBT initiatives, but most of this work has been within the organizations that aren’t focused on LGBT issues. At the group Third Way, Nosanchuk established and directed the organization’s Gay Equality Initiative.

During the 2008 presidential campaign, Nosanchuk was on the LGBT policy committee on the Obama campaign and worked on the Obama for America campaign staff as state research director in Florida and Regional LGBT outreach director in South Florida.

Nosanchuk didn’t immediately respond to the Washington Blade’s request for comment on whether he’s a contender for the White House LGBT liaison position.

 

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson attends the daily White House press briefings and is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

6 Comments
  • What exactly did Brian Bond do for the gays who weren’t invited to cocktail receptions and bill signings? Not sure how average gays benefited from him serving as the gay liaison.

  • Watch, it’ll be just another uber-wealthy marriage-focused Gay, Inc. Obama/Democratic Party apologist. Nothing to see here, move along, move along. Frankly, I’d love to then appoint someone who would impress me, but I really don’t expect that to happen.

  • Dont know where your coming from Rebecca, I cant judge the candidates, but if you looked at (and prob still will see, eg on politico) the repub tea party nutcases screaming over the budget – it was little different then listening to hitler and his goons ranting in eg the movie “hitler – the rise of evil”
    And take gov perry of TX. First he said that marriage is a state issue.

    then to his right wing bigots he said he wants a fed constitutional amendment against gay marriage.

    If you tell a lie often enough and outrageous enough, it may be seen as the truth is perry’s game

    (Courtesty of Paul Joseph Gobbels – google him if you dont know who he was

    • I know who Gobbels is, thank you, but it’s not the GOP that’s at issue here. Frankly, no one really expects any better from them and they’ve been quite up front about their opposition to our equality.

      On the other side of the coin, however, the Democratic Party has a history of claiming to be on our side and in support of our equality, but they never seem to actually keep the promises they make to our community.

      Remember when Obama said he’d be a fierce advocate for our rights during the ’08 campaign season? You think he’s kept that one?

      How about when George Miller repeatedly promised (at least seven times by my count, maybe more) that ENDA would get a vote in the House during the 111th Congress? That one never materialized either.

      Or how about Nancy Pelosi telling a Netroots Nation audience earlier this year that the reason DADT went first, ahead of ENDA, was because that’s what LGBT activists said they wanted? I’d like to know which activists those were, because it certainly wasn’t anyone I know or who has, at least, admitted to it anyway.

      The truth is that Democrats like to talk jobs, jobs, jobs, but they never seem to mean LGBT jobs, or at least not those of the lower and middle classes.

      Back in March, Barney Frank was quoted in Metro Weekly as saying that ENDA would come before DOMA in Congress, and that he believed that DOMA would be resolved through the courts, not through the legislative process. Yet what did we just see? The Senate, holding a hearing on DOMA, the issue which the Democratic Party’s go-to guy on LGBT rights not only believes isn’t going to be considered seriously by Congress for quite a while at minimum (if current indications are any guide), but he expects it to be resolved through other means, without the (theoretic) need for Congress to address the issue at all .

      So if we take it as fact, or at least extremely likely, that that Barney Frank is right, and of course, factor in the reality that no LGBT-protective legislation is going anywhere in Congress as long as the Republicans retain any advantage or real control in our federal legislative process in any case, we must also take it as correct that there was no credible political advantage to be gained in the cause of repealing DOMA by holding a hearing in the Senate on the issue now. Despite this reality, somehow the Senate found this issue to be important and compelling enough to hold a hearing on DOMA right in the midst of a heated budget battle.

      Senators Tweet-patted themselves and each other on the back throughout the day, but not one of them, nor any of the many Tweeters in my list who addressed the topic, wondered aloud why DOMA was getting a hearing in the Senate, but the President’s Press Secretary is still dodging questions about ENDA.

      The reason is obvious: DOMA repeal is the most important issue to the biggest LGBT donors to the Democratic Party. Right now, as we head into the 2012 election season, the greatest concern for the Democratic Party (and for the Republicans as well) is money, amassing as much of it as possible as quickly as possible for the upcoming election.

      If Democrats were serious about both LGBT rights and jobs, that Senate hearing would have been, should have been, about ENDA, complete with actual transgender people to speak for themselves, instead of indirectly through non-trans proxies.

      The Senate DOMA hearing speaks volumes about the true priorities of today’s Democratic Party, and it’s why I question if continually rewarding these people for this kind of behavior with our money, volunteer manhours, and votes is the right way to go. Maybe if those of us in the LGBT working class rose up and started speaking out about the kind of government and Democratic Party we want, need, and deserve, maybe we could help effect some actual change, or at least, just get a little respect.

      In this economy, it’s about time the Democratic Party stopped being terrified of even talking with transgender Americans, much less of protecting us from discrimination along with everyone else, don’t you think?

  • Whine, whine, whine. Maybe you all need to do a bit more research before whining — it’s far from attractive.

  • What about Amanda Simpson?

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