Meet Ben Panico, America’s Only Openly Trans Congressional Staffer

ben panicoHere’s a delightful profile of the excellent Ben Panico, a Congressional staffer soon to work with Colorado’s Rep. Jared Polis.

“I never imagined I’d be walking through these halls,” he told a Fusion reporter. “It’s so exciting and it’s really beautiful. It’s kind of like walking through a museum every day.”

Ben doesn’t want to talk to reporters about his transition — which is fine, since it’s really his business, not yours — but he’s happy to show the work that he does for the LGBT equality caucus. “I’m just going to my job like any other person,” he says.

Soon Panico will be working in the office of Jared Polis, himself one of the few openly gay members of Congress. Unfortunately, Polis recently stunned the nation by combining a polo shirt — a polo shirt! — and a bow tie and blazer. It’s just a complete outrage. How does something like this happen?

Anyway, back to Ben. For now, his duties include website updates and letter-writing, but we see greatness in his future.

And stick with the video for a few nice words near the end from our heroine, Mara Keisling of the National Center for Transgender Equality. She remembers just a few years ago, having to explain to members of Congress what the word “trans” means.

Today, she says, “we’re still a bit of a novelty on the hill,” but now politicians know who they are.


H/t HuffPo