Out lesbian nominated to ambassador-level post for the first time

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Chantale Wong smiling
Chantale Wong, photo by Amida.com

Chantale Wong nominated to be U.S. Director of the Asian Development Bank

President Biden nominated Chantale Wong to be the United States Director to the Asian Development Bank, a post with the rank of ambassador. Wong is the first out lesbian and first out LGBTQ person of color in U.S. history to be nominated for an ambassador-level position. The nomination is historic.

“Today, Chantale moved the bar as the first out lesbian and first out LGBTQ person of color nominated at an ambassador level, yet this important moment is about more than making history,” said former Houston Mayor Annise Parker, President and CEO of LGBTQ Victory Institute. “Chantale will represent the most powerful nation in the Asian Development Bank at a time when many of its member states criminalize LGBTQ people and deny them the right to marry.”

“Her presence and leadership can change perceptions of LGBTQ people among representatives from other nations,” said Parker. She said this would potentially inch countries toward more acceptance of LGBTQ citizens.

Wong was formerly CFO of the Millennium Challenge Corporation, Budget Director at NASA, and Acting Budget Director of the U.S. Treasury Department. Former President Bill Clinton also appointed her as a U.S. representative to the Asian Development Bank when the initiative began and was launched by Victory Institute.

Victory Institute’s Presidential Appointments Initiative works with the administration to recommend and advocate for qualified LGBTQ leaders ready to serve in the administration. The initiative achieved unprecedented success under President Barack Obama, who appointed approximately 330 LGBTQ people, the most in history. Of those, 158 were assisted by the Presidential Appointments Initiative.

It advocated for Wong’s nomination and supported her throughout the nomination process. According to Victory Institute, one of the Initiative’s four priority goals is the appointment of out LGBTQ women ambassadors, LGBTQ ambassadors of color, and transgender ambassadors for the first time. Victory Institute aims to help the Biden administration become the most LGBTQ-inclusive in U.S. history.

“While she was nominated because of her exceptional qualifications and expertise, Chantale will be a powerful symbol of the Biden administration’s commitment to equality, and member states will be forced to notice and respect it,” said Parker. “We now call on the administration to nominate diverse LGBTQ people as ambassadors—including LGBTQ women, trans leaders, and LGBTQ leaders of color.”

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Journalist Chelsey Johnstone is the former Project Manager for Greater Trenton and was primary writer for TrentonDaily. She is a senior journalism major at Montclair State University and former communication and music student at Mercer County Community College. While attending her community college, Chelsey led her student newspaper, The College VOICE, as Editor-in-Chief. Now, Chelsey is working to advance her journalist skills freelancing for Out in Jersey Magazine and Unclear Magazine with the hope of positively impacting the world of reporting.