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Transgender woman appointed to Department of Commerce
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Transgender woman appointed to Department of Commerce

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Staff Writer

President Obama has appointed Amanda Simpson, a member of the board of directors of the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE), Senior Technical Advisor to the Department of Commerce. Simpson will be working in the Bureau of Industry and Security.

The recent appointment of Simpson, a Transgender woman, is among the first by a presidential administration.

"I'm truly honored to have received this appointment and am eager and excited about this opportunity that is before me," said Simpson. "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."

According to NCTE, Simpson brings 30 years of aerospace and defense industry experience to her new post, most recently serving as Deputy Director in Advanced Technology Development at Raytheon Missile Systems in Tucson, Arizona. While working at Raytheon, Simpson transitioned from male-to-female over a six-year period. She successfully lobbied to add gender identity to Raytheon's Equal Employment Opportunity Policy.

Simpson also holds degrees in physics, engineering and business administration along with an extensive flight background. She is a certified flight instructor and test pilot with 20 years of experience.

In addition, Simpson has been very active in political and community groups. She has served on the Board of Directors of two national organizations: Out & Equal and NCTE. In Arizona, she has been on the board of Wingspan, the Southern Arizona Gender Alliance, the Southern Arizona ACLU and Equality Arizona.

In 2004, the YWCA recognized her as one of their "Women on the Move," and in the same year, she won the Democratic nomination to the Arizona House of Representatives. In 2005, she was given the Arizona Human Rights Foundation Individual Award.

The appointment makes good on a promise made by White House Office of Public Engagement Brian Bond, who stated the LGBT community would take on a more visible role in the Obama Administration.

"Obama is the first U.S. president to appoint openly Transgender individuals to executive branch positions," the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, a group that backs openly Gay elected officials, said on its website.

The Obama administration is on track to setting a new record on openly LGBT appointees. President Clinton appointed about 140 Gay official over 8 years. In his first year in office, Obama has appointed nearly 100 openly LGBT officials.

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