Historic start to LGBTQ presidential appointments in 2021

Biden-Harris Transition Team
Joe Biden and Kamala Harris

100 days into the Biden/Harris administration and 200 LGBTQ people have been appointed

One-hundred days into his presidency, President Joe Biden has appointed at least 200 LGBTQ appointees to his administration. That number is exponentially more than any other president at this point in their administration. Among them are groundbreaking appointees Pete Buttigieg, the first out LGBTQ Senate-confirmed Cabinet member, and Dr. Rachel Levine, the first out Senate-confirmed trans appointee.

LGBTQ appointees dwarf the number appointed in previous administrations

Buttigieg serves as Secretary of Transportation and Dr. Levine as Assistant Secretary for Health. President Barack Obama held the previous record for LGBTQ appointments at 100 days, but with just 37 known LGBTQ appointees.

The Biden administration is well on-track to appoint the 225 LGBTQ people necessary to achieve equitable representation in appointments—about 5.6 percent of the roughly 4000 presidential appointments. Gallup estimates LGBTQ Americans at 5.6 percent of the U.S. population—with younger Americans identifying more often as LGBTQ (including 9.1 percent of millennials and 15.9 percent of generation Z). More than one-third of LGBTQ appointees so far were recommended to the administration by Victory Institute’s Presidential Appointments Initiative.

Today the Victory Institute released names and positions for more than 100 of the LGBTQ appointees publicly available as of today.

“President Biden’s administration is already the most LGBTQ-inclusive in history and his appointees have shattered long-standing political barriers thought unthinkable not long ago,” said Mayor Annise Parker, President & CEO of LGBTQ Victory Institute. “These appointees make an incalculable impact every day, drafting policies within agencies, advising on legislation and debating critical issues at the highest levels. With the thousands of appointments yet to be made, we will continue to work with the administration to not only ensure our community is equitably represented, but that trans and non-binary people, LGBTQ people of color and LGBTQ women are fully represented as well.”

In the first 100 days, two of the Victory Institutes Presidential Appointments Initiative’s five goals have already been achieved:

  • Appoint and confirm the first out LGBTQ Cabinet member; and
  • Successfully appoint the first Senate-confirmed out trans appointee.

Three goals remain:

  • Appoint out LGBTQ women ambassadors, LGBTQ ambassadors of color, and transgender ambassadors for the first time;
  • Nominate an out LGBTQ U.S. Supreme Court justice for the first time; and
  • Ensure equitable representation among presidential appointees throughout this presidency and ensure they reflect the full diversity of the LGBTQ community.

“President Biden has already made history with the number of LGBTQ women and transgender people he has nominated for Senate-confirmed positions,” said Ruben Gonzales, Executive Director of LGBTQ Victory Institute. “He will rollout his picks for ambassadorships over the next few months and it presents an incredible opportunity to choose diverse and groundbreaking LGBTQ nominees.”

“Just a small handful of LGBTQ people have ever served as ambassadors and all of them were white cisgender men,”  said Gonzalez. “Ambassadors signal to the world who we are and what we stand for. The impact of our first LGBTQ women ambassadors, first LGBTQ ambassadors of color and first trans ambassadors would be enormous.”

The Presidential Appointments Initiative—first launched by Victory Institute during President Bill Clinton’s administration—has received more than 1300 applications from LGBTQ people interested in joining the Biden administration. It achieved unprecedented success under President Obama, who appointed approximately 330 LGBTQ people, the most in history. Of those, 158 were assisted by the Presidential Appointments Initiative.