Chantale Wong Becomes First-Ever LGBTQ Woman Nominated to Ambassador-Level Government Position

The Biden White House continues to be a model of diversity and representation, hiring and nominating an ever-growing pool of inclusive individuals for historic government appointments. 

Chantale Wong is the latest individual to join that impressive fold after being nominated as the U.S. director of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), where she will work to promote economic growth and development in the Asia and Pacific region. If approved by the Senate, Wong will become “the first LGBTQ person of color as well as the first gay woman with the rank of ambassador,” according to Dan Avery of NBC News.

“Wong was previously appointed to the bank’s board of directors by President Bill Clinton and has also served as CFO of the Millennium Challenge Corp., budget director at NASA and acting budget director at the Treasury Department,” Avery said.

In a Facebook post, Wong said that she was honored and “truly humbled” by the nomination.

“If I am confirmed by the U.S. Senate, I will serve with humility and with [the] purpose of advancing U.S. interest at the ADB and the region on behalf of my fellow Americans,” she wrote. 

In the statement announcing Wong’s nomination, the White House called her “a leading authority in international development policy with over 30 years of experience in the multidisciplinary field that includes finance, technology and the environment.”

“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,” Annise Parker, president of the LGBTQ Victory Institute, said in an interview with Avery.

According to data from the Victory Institute, President Biden has already appointed more than 200 LGBTQ individuals to positions within his administration — a number Parker called “exponentially more than any other president at this point in their administration.” 

And that figure doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon. In addition to Wong’s upcoming confirmation, numerous LGBTQ individuals are also currently awaiting Senate approval and the start of their own historic roles within the government. Among them:

  • Gina Ortiz Jones has been nominated for undersecretary of the Air Force. The former Air Force intelligence officer is an out lesbian who ran for a seat representing the 23rd Congressional District of Texas in 2020.
  • Shawn Skelly has been nominated as assistant secretary of defense for readiness. If confirmed, Avery reported that the Navy vet “will be the highest-ranking out transgender defense official ever.”
  • Brenda Sue Fulton has been nominated for assistant secretary of defense for manpower and readiness. According to NBC News, the former Army platoon leader also made history due to her 2012 wedding at West Point — the first-ever same-sex marriage ceremony conducted at the military academy.

In a statement earlier this year, prior to Wong’s nomination, Parker said, “President Biden’s administration is already the most LGBTQ-inclusive in history, and his appointees have shattered long-standing political barriers thought unthinkable not long ago. With the thousands of appointments yet to be made, we will continue to work with the administration to not only ensure our community is equitably represented, but that trans and nonbinary people, LGBTQ people of color and LGBTQ women are fully represented as well.”

Related: For more recent diversity and inclusion news, click here.

 

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