President-elect Joe Biden is expected to nominate Mayor Pete Buttigieg to be his Secretary of Transportation, making him the first out LGBTQ person to be nominated to a permanent position in a presidential Cabinet. He will be the first out LGBTQ Cabinet secretary ever approved by the U.S. Senate if his nomination is confirmed next year. The appointment also fulfills one of four goals LGBTQ Victory Institute’s Presidential Appointments Initiative set for the new administration.
Annise Parker, President & CEO of LGBTQ Victory Institute, released the following statement about the Buttigieg nomination:
“Pete’s nomination is a new milestone in a decades-long effort to ensure LGBTQ people are represented throughout our government – and its impact will reverberate well-beyond the department he will lead. It distances our nation from a troubled legacy of barring out LGBTQ people from government positions and moves us closer to the President-elect’s vision of a government that reflects America. As an out LGBTQ person, Pete will bring a unique perspective that will inform and influence policy throughout the federal government. Most important, however, is that Pete will bring his intellect and energy to the Department of Transportation and our nation will be better off because of it.”
In addition to an LGBTQ Cabinet appointment, LGBTQ Victory Institute previously called on the next administration to:
- 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
- Ensure openly LGBTQ people receive equitable representation among presidential appointees and that they reflect the full diversity of the LGBTQ community.
Victory Institute’s Presidential Appointments Initiative – a coalition of 32 LGBTQ and allied organizations – will put forward hundreds of exemplary LGBTQ candidates for positions throughout the next administration and advocate for their consideration. It aims to help the Biden transition team in creating the most LGBTQ-inclusive administration in U.S. history.
The Initiative – first launched by Victory Institute during President Bill Clinton’s administration – 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.
During the Trump administration, Richard Grenell became the first out LGBTQ person to hold a Cabinet position when he served as Acting Director National Intelligence for three months. However, his appointment was temporary and was never confirmed by the Senate.
With more than 4,100 appointees, at least 185 LGBTQ people must be serving at any given time to maintain a representation level equal to that of LGBTQ people in the U.S. population (4.5 percent). The coalition also aims to make the LGBTQ appointees the most diverse ever – ensuring that LGBTQ people of color, LGBTQ women and transgender and non-binary people are well represented.