Just fifty years ago, LGBTQ people were barred from serving in positions in the federal government, making the President-elect’s commitment to an inclusive administration a sign of enormous progress. Victory Institute’s Presidential Appointments Initiative – a coalition of more than 30 LGBTQ organizations – works to support presidential administrations in ensuring qualified LGBTQ people are included in the federal government across all agencies and levels.
LGBTQ Victory Institute leads the nonpartisan initiative which accepts résumés from LGBTQ leaders interested in working in a presidential administration. Victory Institute reviews the résumés and provides support to candidates to assist administrations with filling open full-time and part-time positions – including on boards and advisory committees.
Representation matters, and when LGBTQ people are included at decision-making tables, they can significantly influence the policies and direction of agencies, commissions, and the executive branch to make a positive change for LGBTQ people.
“I am a product of the Presidential Appointments Initiative. Putting me on the list brought my name to the attention of people who didn’t know I was gay, but knew me in different capacities.”
– Eric Fanning, Former Secretary of the Army
“I literally walked into the office, I kid you not, and saw myself on CNN and MSNBC announcing my appointment throughout the day. It was a little bit of a shock, but I absolutely appreciated that this was a step forward for our community, particularly for trans women and trans women of color. I was also ready to just do my job as part of a brilliant team.”
– Raffi Freedman-Gurspan, Former LGBT White House Liaison
“It was truly an honor to be the first openly female transgender appointee. Being visible within the highest levels of the federal government made a difference for our community. I was in the room when the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ went into effect and immediately asked, ‘How do we remove restrictions on open transgender military service?’ I chaired meetings as the deputy assistant secretary of defense with two- and three-star generals and admirals, clearly showing that a transperson can effectively interact and lead. I pushed for modifications to defense policies that improved our tactical and strategic positions, demonstrating an openly LGBTQ person can keep focus on military objectives. Being at the table ensured we weren’t on the menu.”
– Amanda Simpson, Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Operational Energy
Administration of President Joe Biden
Since the transition, LGBTQ Victory Institute and our partners have been working to field and identify potential candidates for appointed positions in the Biden-Harris administration.
As part of the Initiative, LGBTQ Victory Institute called on the administration to:
- Appoint a Senate-confirmed openly LGBTQ Cabinet member for the first time;
- Pete Buttigieg was confirmed by the U.S. Senate in February 2021 as Secretary of Transportation
- Nominate an openly LGBTQ U.S. Supreme Court justice for the first time;
- Appoint openly LGBTQ woman ambassadors, LGBTQ ambassadors of color, and transgender ambassadors for the first time; and
- Chantale Wong was confirmed by the U.S. Senate in February 2022 to be the U.S. Director of the Asian Development Bank with the rank of ambassador
- Ensure openly LGBTQ people receive equitable representation among presidential appointees and that they reflect the full diversity of the LGBTQ community.
- Over 14% of Biden-Harris appointees identify as LGBTQ as of January 2022
Administration of President Donald Trump
Victory Institute fielded and shared résumés for qualified LGBTQ candidates with the Trump administration.
Administration of President Barack Obama
During the administration of President Barack Obama, the Presidential Appointments Initiative identified and assisted hundreds of LGBTQ professionals to secure jobs – and President Obama appointed more than 300 openly LGBTQ people during his two terms. The number exceeded the number of openly LGBTQ people appointed in all other presidential administrations combined.
Participating in the Initiative
The Presidential Appointments Initiative serves as a talent bank, counselor and advocate for openly LGBTQ professionals seeking politically appointed positions in pro-equality presidential administrations.
In the Media
Dan Avery | 12/04/20
Casey Quinlan | 11/12/20
Jeff Taylor | 11/11/20
Matthew S. Bajko | 09/14/20
Our Coalition Partners
The Presidential Appointments Initiative is led by LGBTQ Victory Institute in partnership with 30 other LGBTQ and social justice organizations.