The new Biden-Harris administration has made LGBTQ+ issues a priority in the Oval Office. From overturning Trump’s hated ban on trans service members to signing a memo protecting LGBTQ+ people globally, the new administration is also bringing key queer voices into his administration.
From Secretary Pete Buttigieg to Assistant Secretary of Health Rachel Levine, the new administration is backing up its promises with action. Here are some of the current LGBTQ+ appointees and staffers in the Biden-Harris administration.
Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg became the first Senate-confirmed LGBTQ+ cabinet member in the nation's history. In a testament to the changing times, his confirmation was a bipartisan landslide receiving support from across the aisle. The former candidate to become the Democratic presidential nominee is also popular with the American public, as evidenced by the planned new documentary about Buttigieg and his husband, Chasten.
In 2020 Donald Trump appointed Richard Grenell as Acting Director of National Intelligence, a Cabinet-level role. The role is not within the 15-seat presidential cabinet. Grenell did not need to be nominated as it was not a permanent role, nor was he confirmed for it by the Senate as a result of the temporary nature — he had been previously confirmed by the Senate for his role as ambassador to Germany. While holding the Acting Director of National Intelligence position, Grenell attended one full Cabinet meeting, days before vacating the role.
Rachel Levine made history with her nomination to become assistant secretary for health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. If confirmed, she would be the first trans person confirmed by the Senate for a government role. Levine, a pediatrician, endured a withering transphobic rant during her recent confirmation hearings from Senator Rand Paul, who incorrectly compared medically necessary treatments with genital mutilation.
Jean-Pierre has been named the principal deputy press secretary for the Biden-Harris administration. Originally a senior campaign advisor, the 2020 Out100 honoree was quickly promoted to chief of staff for Harris, the first ever Black person and out lesbian to hold that position for a vice-presidential nominee.
“America is progressing towards a stronger, more inclusive future — and I know women of color are a driving force in that evolution,” she tells Out. “Soon, I believe our politics will start to show it a bit more too.”
Tobar is slated to become the deputy White House communications director. She had previously worked with the Biden team as communications director for coalitions. Tobar will be one of seven women filling senior positions in the White House communications office.
“So happy and honored to have the opportunity to serve as White House Deputy Communications Director with this amazing team of women!” Tobar recently tweeted.
Elizondo, the incoming administration’s social secretary, had been the first out member of Biden’s future White House staff, but he has plenty of company now. Elizondo was previously special assistant to President Barack Obama and social secretary to Biden and his wife, Jill, during all eight years Biden was vice president; he was the first Hispanic-American to hold this position. In that capacity he was responsible for planning and overseeing all events hosted by the Biden family, including those involving members of Congress, foreign dignitaries, business leaders, and celebrities.
Teller joins Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg as the nation’s deputy assistant secretary of tribal affairs. He is the second member of the Navajo nation to join the Biden administration, following Wahleah Johns who becomes the head of the Office of Indian Energy.
Previously, Teller was one of only six out members of Arizona’s state legislature. The 1995 graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University served as deputy director of the Navajo Department of Transportation before his election to the Arizona legislature in 2018.
Gautam Raghavan joins the Biden administration as the new deputy director of the Presidential Personnel Office. He had previously served as associate director of the Office of Public Liaison under the Obama administration. Immediately prior to his new position, Raghavan was chief of staff for Representative Pramile Jayapal, Democrat from Washington. A native of India, he was raised in Seattle and is a graduate of Stanford University. Raghavan (left) and husband, Andy (right), live in Washington DC with their daughter.
Delery returns to government service as President Biden’s White House Deputy Counsel after spending the Trump years in private practice. The out lawyer first joined the Obama Department of Justice as chief of staff to the deputy attorney general in charge of the department’s civil division, before being named acting associate attorney general. He is a graduate of Yale Law School.