September 23, 2011 | by Chris Johnson
DOD official chosen as White House LGBT liaison: sources

The White House (Blade file photo by Michael Key)

A gay administration official who serves as a White House liaison at the Pentagon has been tapped as the administration’s next point person for the LGBT community, according to sources familiar with the appointment.

Gautam Raghavan, who currently serves as deputy White House liaison at the Defense Department, has been designated as the White House LGBT liaison, sources said.

Winnie Stachelberg, vice president of external affairs at the Center for American Progress, was among those saying that Raghavan has been designated for the role of LGBT liaison and praised the choice.

“He’s smart, he’s professional, he knows a range of issues, he was the person who the community worked with from the Pentagon on the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’,” Stachelberg said. “So, for the last couple years, many of us have worked with him on a daily basis, and I think the results them speak for themselves.”

Several sources — including Stachelberg — said Raghavan was actively involved in the process that led to the legislative repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

“He was able to maneuver in a political environment — both with constituencies in the military, the [LGBT] community, the White House, Congress,” Stachelberg said. “He just did a terrific job, so he’s someone whom a number of us have known for a while.”

According to a biography, Gautam Raghavan previously worked for the Democratic National Committee as the midwest finance director and director of the Indo-American Leadership Council.

By becoming the new LGBT liaison, Raghavan will take over duties Brian Bond performed at the White House before he left in July to become the DNC’s director of constituency outreach. Bond was deputy director of the Office of Public Engagement as he served as point person for the LGBT community.

Upon his departure, Stephanie Valencia, took over as deputy director at the White House Office of Public Engagement, while Raul Alvillar, an aide to Vice President Joseph Biden, took over as LGBT liaison on a temporary basis.

Stachelberg said Raghavan position will leave his post at the Pentagon as he takes on his duties as permanent LGBT point person. It’s unclear what his official title will be in his new role.

Shin Inouye, a White House spokesperson, said he had he didn’t have any updates at this time in response to a request to confirm the appointment. Inouye previously said a permanent LGBT liaison would be selected in October.

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

3 Comments
  • If Winnie “Lizzie Borden” Stachelberg thinks he’s a great choice THEN WE’RE DOOMED! Stachelberg, who once worked at HRC where she helped turn it into the spineless, money-sucking monster it is today, was the one who took an axe to the original DADT repeal bill—actually bragging about having drafted the so-called “compromise bill,” GUTTING any ban on discrimination against gays IN the military or bar to discharges being brought back in the future. YES, You Whore For Pentagon Homophobes—”the results DO speak for themselves!”

  • Gautam Raghavan is a great choice for the community. Many of us, including allies within the military community, worked closely with Gautam throughout DoD’s planning for repeal – he is smart, principled, and open to input. This is a great day!

  • Poor Ms. Fulton—a bigger Kapo with each passing day. “Principled”? Did he or did he not play a role in gutting repeal legislation of any ban on discrimination against gays and lesbians IN the military, simultaneously opening the door for a future Repug president bringing some version of the ban back.

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