Amanda Simpson started work Tuesday as a senior technical adviser in the Commerce Department, becoming America's first openly transgender presidential appointee. Simpson — an expert in military technology and a former test pilot — said the fact that she used to be Mitch Simpson shouldn't matter, "but on the other hand it does." Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, said the appointment "shows that this president is serious about hiring an administration that looks like this country," but conservative Christian groups said Obama was just pandering to gay, lesbian, and transgender activists. Was this a victory for civil rights, or political correctness? (Listen to Amanda Simpson, Obama's transgender appointee)
Simpson is advancing the cause of freedom: "There are many employed and successful transgender individuals," says Joanne Herman in The Huffington Post, "but you don't often hear their stories because they are living 'stealth' (without disclosing transgender status)." Thanks to the acceptance being won by trailblazers like Amanda Simpson, others may soon be able to be open about who they are without fear of being fired.
"Amanda Simpson: A transgender rocket scientist goes to Washington"
Obama's pandering to the gay and transgender lobby: "Is there going to be a transgender quota now in the Obama administration?" asks Peter LaBarbera, president of Americans for Truth, as quoted at Focus on the Family's Citizenlink.com. Despite what liberals would have you believe, less than 1 percent of the population is transgender. This isn't about righting some wrong—it's about "pandering to the gay lobby."
"President appoints 'transgendered' individual to federal post"
The religious right — not Obama — is politicizing this: Why can't Obama's critics consider the possibility that "Amanda Simpson might actually be the best person for the job, and shouldn't face discrimination," says Steve Benen in Washington Monthly, before insisting that this "milestone" is cause for righteous anger, rather than applause? The reason, of course, is that if they scream about "a transgender quota" they can stir up the base — so look for Focus on the Family's mailings to "grow even more strident" in the future.
"Religious right livid over transgender appointee"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- How academia's liberal bias is killing social science
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- 10 things you need to know today: December 18, 2014
- Why torture doesn't work: A definitive guide
- Hey, bosses: Stop giving bonuses to your employees
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- The liberation of Barack Obama
- Dick Cheney's America is an ugly place
- Capitalism isn't a cure-all for Cuba
- The Hobbit: A disappointing set of movies, but a worthy set of prequels
Subscribe to the Week