Is White House LGBT Liasion Gautam Raghavan A “Twofer”?

Most of America was first exposed to the “twofer” phenomenon on 30 Rock, where writer James “Twofer” Spurlock (Keith Powell) was seen as a prize hire because he went to Harvard (brains!) and African-American (diversity!). Of course it’s been standard practice for years in Corporate America, which is eager to keep headcount down while still appeasing the p.c. crowd. How many Asian and Latina women do we see on the local news?

So when the White House formally announced yesterday that Gautam Raghavan was going to be the LGBT White House Liaison, presenting our issues to President Obama, our initial reaction was, “Is this a twofer?” After all, not only is Raghavan gay but he’s South Asian, a group seriously underrepresented when it comes to queer figureheads.

Is it a coincidence Raghavan is replacing Raul Alvillar, the out Latino who’d been serving as as the interim LGBT liaison? And, in a sense, isn’t Obama (a Harvard Law grad) our first twofer President?

We joked about Raghavan in September, when Metro Weekly broke the news of his impending appointment, but as White House liaison at the Department of Defense, he worked with the Administration on the repeal of DADT. “He was the point person in the Pentagon for many of us, and was able to juggle a number of competing constituencies … in an unbelievably competent manner and I think the results speak for themselves,” Winnie Stachelberg of the Center for American Progress told MW.

Still Raghavan’s status as a gay Indian-American shouldn’t be overlooked: If we want to bring the rest of America on the journey to full equality, we’re going to have to learn how to speak to conservative, religious and ethnic communities. And as a former director of the Indo-American Leadership Council, which raised beaucoup funds for the DNC, Raghavan has developed the tools we need to do that.

If only he’d gone to Harvard.


Image via the White House