Ben Panico was named a fellow for the LGBT Equality Caucus on Thursday, becoming the only openly transgender person working in the House.
Mr. Panico was appointed as part of a program with the Gay and Lesbian Victory Institute, which places fellows in one of the caucus co-chairs’ offices to support the caucus’s initiatives and learn about the legislative process, according to a release from the Institute.
“Ben Panico brings a wealth of experiences to this position, and as Capitol Hill’s only openly transgender staff member, he brings a much needed voice to the table,” said Chuck Wolfe, president and CEO of the Gay and Lesbian Victory Institute. “I am confident Ben will be able to gain immense experience and assist in advancing an equality agenda in Congress.”
Mr. Panico previously served as a congressional intern with the Victory Institute, where he worked for a member of Congress for a semester, the release said.
“This is an opportunity for me gain professional experience and build a network of connections,” Mr. Panico said. “Visibility has been so integral to the LGBT community’s progress over the years and I believe it’s essential to continue that tradition to increase awareness about transgender issues on Capitol Hill.”
The Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus has seven co-chairs: Democratic Reps. Michael Michaud of Maine, Jared Polis of Colorado, David Cicilline of Rhode Island, Sean Patrick Maloney of New York, Mark Pocan of Wisconsin, Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Mark Takano of California.