Chelsea Schilling is a commentary editor and staff writer for WND and a proud U.S. Army veteran. She has also worked as a news producer at USA Radio Network and as a news reporter for the Sacramento Union.More ↓Less ↑
Mitchell “Amanda” Simpson
According to various media reports, President Obama has hired a transgender woman as a senior adviser at the Commerce Department – but the White House is refusing to confirm the appointment.
Mitchell Simpson, now known as “Amanda” following a sex change, is said to have been appointed senior technical adviser at the Commerce Department. He purportedly began work today.
The Commerce website now lists an “Amanda Simpson” in its directory along with a Bureau of Industry and Security e-mail address. The directory does not list a phone number for “Amanda.”
The Obama administration has not officially announced the appointment, and neither the White House nor Simpson responded to WND’s calls and e-mail messages requesting confirmation of the appointment.
But in a statement reported by the New York Daily News, Simpson said, “As one of the first transgender presidential appointees to the federal government, I hope that I will soon be one of hundreds.”
Simpson, 49, is a former test pilot who made the gender switch 10 years ago while working in Tucson, Ariz., for Raytheon Missile Systems, a major Department of Defense contractor where he became deputy director. According to the Arizona Daily Star, Simpson underwent six surgeries at a cost of $70,000 to make the transition from male to female. He had his Adam’s apple removed, breasts added, forehead ground down and genital surgery.
Simpson became the first openly transgendered candidate to win a primary election in the U.S. in a 2004 bid for the Arizona state legislature, the New York Daily News reports. He lost the general election. He’s not the first high-profile transgender appointment in Washington, D.C. In 2008, Diego Sanchez was named chairman of the House Financial Services Committee by Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass.
Simpson, a board member of the National Center for Transgender Equality, or NCTE, for three years, said in a Dec. 31 statement: “I’m truly honored to have received this appointment and am eager and excited about this opportunity that is before me. And at the same time, as one of the first transgender presidential appointees to the federal government, I hope that I will soon be one of hundreds, and that this appointment opens future opportunities for many others.”
Arizona Daily Star ran this photo of Mitchell Simpson as a test pilot
Simpson told ABC News he’s worried that people will assume he was hired because he is a transgender and not on his merits.
“Being the first sucks,” he said. “I’d rather not be the first but someone has to be first, or among the first. I think I’m experienced and very well qualified to deal with anything that might show up because I’ve broken barriers at lots of other places and I always win people over with who I am and what I can do.”
He said he anticipates questions such as, “Is this a token? Are you here to do a job or just to fill a quota or appease other people?”
Simpson continued, “I’m sure I will have to do and intend to do a far superior job than any other person. But I’m sure I will always be second guessed.”
“Amanda” Simpson following his “transition”
Peter LaBarbera, president of Americans for Truth, a “national organization devoted exclusively to exposing and countering the homosexual activist agenda,” jokingly asked if there is some sort of “transgender quota” in the Obama administration.
“How far does this politics of gay and transgender activism go?” he said. “Clearly this is an administration that is pandering to the gay lobby.”
President Obama’s standing with the “gay” and transgender community has widely varied in his limited time in office. He was heavily supported by homosexual voters in 2008, but has since been criticized for not acting fast or decisively enough to expand their rights, in their view.
Born in Chicago as the oldest of four boys, Simpson holds degrees in physics, engineering and business administration. He has served on the board of directors for Out & Equal. In Arizona, he has been on the board of Wingspan, the Southern Arizona Gender Alliance, the Southern Arizona ACLU and the Arizona Human Rights Fund (now Equality Arizona).
In 2004, he was named by the YWCA as one of its “Women on the Move.” Simpson was a delegate to the most recent Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colo. He is divorced with a 15-year-old son.
In the following 2008 Political Perspectives segment on public television, Simpson detailed his experience as a transgender woman:
Bloggers responded to media announcements of the appointment with the following comments:
This administration is like going to see “Rent.” What is normal? How about a homophobic gay man attracted to sheep as the next commander in chief? I’m down with that.
Explain to your 7 year old why this man has boobs. Perhaps Obama can go on the “Oprah” show and explain the difference. I would love that lie.
The comment by the appointee that “being first sucks” gived one a lot of confidence in the person’s level of intelligence and competence. Every single time President Obama appoints someone, I wonder if that’s really the best he can do.
Obumbler is truly amazing. Now he nominated a man/woman? … We independents can’t wait until 2010 and 2012 to correct the biggest mistake we have ever made.
Who cares if she’s transgendered? She has an incredible resume and is actually qualified to do the job, unlike many political appointees. … The amount of poor choices made by this administration is astounding.
Who cares? We have a hell of a lot more to worry about than that. I bet she has more b—s than most in D.C.