Transgender Activist Takes High-Profile Capitol Hill Role

Diego Sanchez hired as Frank policy advisor

Transgender man Diego Sanchez was hired as the senior policy advisor for Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA) in December, reported The Transadvocate. In this role, he will be the top legislative assistant for Frank, the openly gay chairman of the powerful House Financial Services Committee.

As a legislative assistant to Frank, Sanchez will be responsible for advising the legislator on LGBT, health care, veterans and labor issues, and the census. He assured local newspaper Bay Windows that Frank’s top priorities for gay issues would be passage of transgender-inclusive hate crimes legislation and the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.

In 2007, Frank caused controversy when he supported a transgender-exclusive ENDA, citing the unlikelihood of passing legislation that included transgender protections.

Transgender activists are hopeful that Sanchez, named one of the Top 100 Most Powerful Latinos in Corporate America by Hispanic Business Magazine, can help Frank work to get the legislation passed, perhaps as early as this year.

Sanchez, 51, previously served as director of  public relations and external affairs for AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts. In August, he became the first transgender person appointed to the Platform Committee of the Democratic National Convention. He is also a member of  Human Rights Campaign’s Boston Steering Committee and the HRC Business Council.