Obama Appoints Transgender Woman to Commerce Dept

Originally posted by me in the GW Discourse blog.

On Tuesday, January 5th, Amanda Simpson began her work as a Senior Technical Advisor to the US Commerce Department. Ms. Simpson is the first known transgender presidential appointee.

The backlash was immediate. Peter LaBarbera of Americans for Truth, an antigay group, released the following statement:

Is there going to be a transgender quota now in the Obama administration? How far does this politics of gay and transgender activism go? Clearly this is an administration that is pandering to the gay lobby.

The White House website currently shows 643 appointments and nominations made by President Obama. Apparently, 1 out of 643 represents a quota to groups like Americans for Truth, who are so panicked by Simpson’s appointment that they are ignoring her qualifications and claiming that this is a political maneuver by the president.

Simpson worked as the deputy director in Advanced Technology Development at Raytheon Missile Systems. She is a flight instructor and a test pilot, and with thirty years in the industry and degrees in physics, engineering, and business administration under her belt, she’s already proven more than worthy of the job. Her high qualifications only highlight the absurdity of claims by Focus on the Family that this appointment is just Obama’s “payback to his far-left base for their political support.”

If this is supposed to be payback to the LGBT community for their support, it’s too little, too late. The President is far too intelligent to believe that one appointment would make the LGBT community forgive him for his lack of progress on repealing the Defense of Marriage Act and Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. It’s clear that groups like Focus on the Family either have no idea what the LGBT community’s priorities are, or they are just trying to instigate media attention with their radical messages.

Amanda Simpson represents a milestone in our nation’s history, and it is important to recognize what she has done for the transgender community. But we should remember that she was appointed because of her unique skills and qualifications, not because Obama wanted to use her to “pay back” the LGBT community.

Let us hope that this appointment ushers in an era not of quotas and political pandering, but of equality and opportunity for all.

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