Obama appoints transgender woman, Sikh and Baha’i to faith advisory council

National LGBT Task Force Barbara Satin was involved in the UCC's decision to fully include LGBT people as members and ministers in 2003

A transgender woman will join representatives from the Sikh and Baha’i communities as new advisers to President Obama on faith-based issues.

The White House announced the additions to the President’s third and final advisory council on faith-based and neighbourhood partnerships last week.

Barbara Satin is the assistant faith work director for the National LGBTQ Task Force and a member of the United Church of Christ (UCC). She was the first openly transgender member of the UCC’s executive council and has served on the board of a number of other LGBT community groups.

Of her appointment, Satin said: “Given the current political climate, I believe it’s important that a voice of faith representing the transgender and gender non-conforming community — as well as a person of my years, nearly 82 — be present and heard in these vital conversations.”

The other appointments included Naseem Kourosh, human rights officer at the US Baha’i office of public affairs and Manjit Singh, co-founder and chairman of the Sikh American Legal Defence and Education Fund.

Along with a number of other appointments, Obama said Satin, Kourosh and Singh were “fine public servants” and would bring “depth of experience and tremendous dedication” to their roles.

“I look forward to working with them,” he said.

The President’s advisory council is charged with making policy recommendations to the administration as well as suggesting improvements and best practices for services that relate to faith-based groups. The council currently has fifteen members, most of whom are Christian.

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