Obama makes first trans appointments
Dylan Orr, Amanda Simpson make history in newest positions
By Lisa Keen
Originally printed 1/7/2010 (Issue 1801 - Between The Lines News)
Amanda Simpson starts work this week as one of the first presidentially appointed transgender persons to the executive branch of any administration. The honor as the first belongs to Dylan Orr, a 30-year-old law school graduate from Seattle.
The Obama administration appointed both Simpson and Orr in late November. Orr began work on Dec. 7 as special assistant to assistant secretary of labor Kathleen Martinez in the Office of Disability Employment Policy at the Department of Labor. Simpson, 49, began work on Dec. 29 as Senior Technical Advisor in the Bureau of Industry and Security. The Bureau's mission is to protect national security through the management of international trade, the enforcement of treaties, and the promotion of economic, cyber and homeland security.
Orr, a native of Seattle, graduated from the University of Washington School of Law in July and was admitted to the bar in November. During law school, his studies focused on disability rights, civil rights and employment and immigration issues. He served as president of the law school's GLBT student organization. He did his undergraduate work at Smith College in Massachusetts, and also worked for a time with the Department of Social Services in Salem, Massachusetts.
Simpson, 49 and a native of Chicago, recently worked as a chief engineer with the Raytheon Missile Systems in Tucson and holds degrees in physics, engineering and business administration, according to National Center for Transgender Equality. She has worked in the aerospace-defense industry for 30 years, is a certified flight instructor and has 20 years experience as a test pilot.
The YWCA of Arizona honored Simpson in 2004 as one of 12 "Women on the Move." She has also served on the boards of the Southern Arizona ACLU, Equality Arizona (formerly Arizona Human Rights Fund) and the Southern Arizona Gender Alliance. She has also served on the Tucson Commission on LGBT Issues and on the national board of the National Center for Transgender Equality.
Simpson, a Democrat, ran in 2005 for a seat in the Arizona House of Representatives, but was defeated by the incumbent Republican in the largely Republican state. She attended the 2008 Democratic National Convention as a delegate pledged to Hillary Clinton. She shares custody of her 13-year-old son with her former spouse.
"I'm truly honored to have received this appointment and am eager and excited about this opportunity that is before me," said Simpson, in a prepared statement released by Transgender Equality on Dec. 31. "And at the same time, as one of the first transgender presidential appointees to the federal government," she said, "I hope that I will soon be one of hundreds, and that this appointment opens future opportunities for many others."
Simpson said that she put her name in for an appointment through the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund's Presidential Appointments Project, though she can't be sure that the appointment came through that association.
According to LGBT blogger Autumn Sandeen at pamshouseblend.com, Simpson announced on her Facebook page in late November that she had accepted the appointment from the Obama administration.
"I like the idea that Amanda Simpson, a trans-identified woman with an incredible resume, is becoming an inspirational figure for trans youth," blogged Sandeen. "Amanda Simpson's appointment speaks to a new reality: The next generations of trans people can dream much bigger dreams than trans people in generations past."
In an interview in 2008 with a Tucson cable show, Political Perspectives, on Access Tucson, Simpson noted that she has worked with "a lot of people in the military."
"And my customers at the time of my transition were Air Force and Navy officers," she said. "And they were very accepting and supportive."
- Study Suggests Genetic Link For Male Homosexuality
- Shelter in Kansas City Won't House Gay Couples
- Gay Marriage Issue Now Linked To Ohio Senator
- Another Top Ohio Republican Speaks On Gay Marriage
- Pope Reinforces Traditional Family Values
- Election 2014: LGBT Candidates Make Some History Across U.S.
- Republican Sweep Captures Senate And Some Pro-Gay Governors
- LGBT Veterans Still Denied Equal Federal Benefits
- GLSEN Releases New National School Climate Survey On America's Middle And High Schools
- NCAVP 2013 Intimate Partner Violence Report
- Transgender Michigan Teen Shares Story On National Stage
- CEO Of Apple Tim Cook: 'I'm Proud To Be Gay'
- Guide To Elections Across the U.S.
- 5th Circuit Court Sets Date To Hear SSM Cases
- Federal Gov. To Recognize Same-Sex Married Couples In Six More States
- Hook-Up Related Homicide In Pennsylvania
- Bishops Scrap Welcome To Gays In Sign Of Split
- Federal Judge Strikes Down Arizona Same-Sex Marriage Ban
- October Surprise At The Supreme Court
- Alaska Will Issue Marriage Licenses To Gay Couples
- Courtyard by Marriott Detroit Downtown
- Campus; Student and Alumni Groups
- Lansing Community College Gay-Straight Alliance
- Families and Parents
- Grand Rapids Alternative Families
- Real Estate/Agent
- Berkshire Hathaway HWWB Realtors
- Religious & Spiritual
- Plymouth Congregational Church
- First United Methodist Church
- Gays in Faith Together
- Social/Community Organizations
- Black & White Men Together Detroit
- Olivia Cruises & Travel
- Urban Gardener
- Reformation Growers
Enter contests to win great prizes like CDs, DVDs, concert tickets and more
- Q&A: Lisa Kudrow On Judging 'Drag Race' (As Valerie Cherish!) & Gays Being Biologically 'Superhuman'
- Q&A: Andy Cohen On His (Almost) Tell-All Book, 'Nasty' Names Gays Call Him
- GOP Hopeful Wants 'Christians' Fleeing MI If Gays Get Civil Rights
- Divine Intervention: Bette Midler Talks Early Gay Support, 'Diva' Degradation & Twerking ('Girls, Please!')
- Creep of the Week: Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder
Sign up to receive our weekly newsletters today!
This Week's Issue
Download or view this week's print issue today!
Sign up to receive our weekly newsletters today!