Today, the White House made formal what Metro Weekly first reported on Sept. 23: Gautam Raghavan, the former deputy White House liaison at the Department of Defense, is the new LGBT liaison in the White House Office of Public Engagement.
White House spokesman Shin Inouye told Metro Weekly today in a statement, "The White House is pleased to welcome Gautam Raghavan as an Associate Director of Public Engagement in the Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs."
Inouye said that Raghavan "will serve as the point of contact for the LGBT community in his new role."
Raghavan takes over for Brian Bond, who served as deputy director of OPE and was the LGBT liaison in the first years of the Obama administration. Bond moved this summer to the Democratic National Committee to be the director of constituency outreach. Stephanie Valencia took over the deputy director role, and Raul Alvillar, who has been associate director for public engagement at the Office of the Vice President, served as the interim LGBT liaison before today's announcement.
"Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repeal advocates tell Metro Weekly that Raghavan's transition to his new role at the White House likely will be quite smooth, as they saw him at work in a similar role at the Pentagon. According to the White House, Raghavan was the outreach lead for the Defense Department's DADT repeal comprehensive review working group.
Nathaniel Frank, the author of Unfriendly Fire and a longtime researcher on DADT issues at the Palm Center until this past year, said today that Raghavan had coordinated multiple meetings with researchers like Frank and repeal advocates, including one meeting that took place at the Pentagon with the co-chairs of the Pentagon working group, Defense Department General Counsel Jeh Johnson and Gen. Carter Ham.