On Tuesday, Amanda Simpson considered the first publicly open transgender in the Executive branch, began work as the Senior Technical Adviser in the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security. Normally appointees at this level get little notice or attention, unless you are somehow different from what is considered “normal” by society and the media.
Amanda Simpson, who before $70K worth of surgery was named Mitch, is being considered by some in the Right as an appointee to fill a quota. However Ms. Simpson, a former test pilot, and former Deputy Director at Raytheon Missile Systems, is considered highly qualified for her new post.
Amanda Simpson is another example how we get caught up in tags and get side-tracked from what’s important. What is most important in this case is that she is qualified to do the job. But what becomes sensationalized is that fact that she had a sex change operation. Then the accusations start that she is a token appointee to appease a disgruntled LGBT community.
The story of Amanda Simpson is a story because she was appointed based on her qualifications in spite of her transformation from male to female. This story has significance, especially at a time when gays and lesbians are fighting for equal rights, and are being publicly denied those rights as the result of a continuing campaign of what Christian Evangelicals consider divinely justified discrimination.
“I think to some extent it shouldn’t mean much at all, but on the other hand it does,” Simpson said in a telephone interview Monday from Washington, “So many employers and people in this country are not willing to look past that, and that’s why this is important.”
As long as stories like Amanda Simpson remain newsworthy, it is a clear sign that members of the LGBT community have not attained recognition as equal members of society. We live in a country whose founding documents guaranteed equality for all men. It took more than a century, but eventually that became all men and women of all races. It will probably take many more years before people like Amanda Simpson and other members of the LGBT community can be considered equal in this country, and when that time comes, hopefully sooner than later, this nation will begin to truly tap the exceptional human resources we possess based on achievement and not sexual orientation or identity.
For people like Rev. Rick Warren and social conservatives, that will happen “when hell freezes over.”
Photo credit: AP / This picture provided by Amanda Simpson shows her on Dec. 10, 2004.
Source: Boston Herald