The White House officially announced on Wednesday the administration’s new LGBT liaison will be a gay former Defense Department official involved in the effort leading to “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal.
Shin Inouye, a White House spokesperson, said Gautam Raghavan, formerly a deputy liaison to the White House at the Pentagon, has become an associate director of public engagement in the Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs. Inouye said Raghavan will serve “as the point of contact for the LGBT community in his new role.”
According to the White House, Raghavan previously worked for the Obama for America campaign, the Democratic National Committee, and Progressive Majority. He’s a graduate of Stanford University and is pursuing a Masters degree at the George Washington University.
The Washington Blade previously reported on Sept. 23 that Raghavan had been designated for the role. The announcement on Wednesday is the first on the record comment confirming the appointment.
As LGBT point person, Raghavan will take over duties previously assigned to Brian Bond, who was deputy director of the Office of Public Engagement and LGBT liaison before he left in July for a position at the DNC. Upon Bond’s 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.
LGBT advocates say Raghavan was involved in the process that led to “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal in his capacity as a deputy liaison to the White House at the Pentagon.
Aubrey Sarvis, executive director of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, said his organization is pleased to welcome Raghavan to his new post at the White House.
“He is well-respected in the LGBT community, but perhaps no more than here at SLDN where we worked closely with him in his role at the Pentagon helping to build the support needed and manage the repeal process of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’” Sarvis said. ”We look forward to working with him as we move toward addressing the post-repeal inequities that remain for our nation’s service members, including family support and benefit parity for married couples and the need for a nondiscrimination policy.”