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Biden nominates lesbian to ambassador-level post

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Chantale Wong has been nominated to be U.S. director to the Asian Development Bank. Photo:
Chantale Wong has been nominated to be U.S. director to the Asian Development Bank. Photo:  

President Joe Biden on July 2 nominated Chantale Wong to be the United States director to the Asian Development Bank, a post with the rank of ambassador.

According to the LGBTQ Victory Fund, Wong is the first out lesbian and first out LGBTQ person of color in U.S. history to be nominated for an ambassador-level position. Wong was formerly CFO of the Millennium Challenge Corporation, a position to which she was appointed by former President Barack Obama, according to a White House statement.

Wong also served as budget director at NASA and acting budget director of the U.S. Treasury Department. Former President Bill Clinton appointed her as a U.S. representative to the Asian Development Bank, a release from the White House stated.

"Today Chantale moved the bar as the first out lesbian and first out LGBTQ person of color nominated at an ambassador level, yet this important moment is about more than making history," stated Annise Parker, President & CEO of LGBTQ Victory Institute. "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.

"Her presence and leadership can change perceptions of LGBTQ people among representatives from other nations — potentially inching countries toward more acceptance of LGBTQ citizens," Parker added. "While she was nominated because of her exceptional qualifications and expertise, Chantale will be a powerful symbol of the Biden administration's commitment to equality and member states will be forced to notice and respect it. We now call on the administration to nominate diverse LGBTQ people as ambassadors — including LGBTQ women, trans leaders, and LGBTQ leaders of color."

The White House statement said that Wong enjoys photography and videography, with which she has chronicled the annual Congressional Civil Rights pilgrimages in Alabama with the late Congressman John Lewis. In the Asian American and Pacific Islander community, Wong is known for establishing the Conference on APA Leadership, where she has guided young AAPIs for 32 years to seek careers in public service.

She holds a master's in public administration from Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, and a master's in environmental engineering from UC Berkeley. Her undergraduate degree is in civil and structural engineering from the University of Hawaii.

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