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Obama Appoints Transgender Woman, Caves to "Gay Lobby"

By Joseph Erbentraut in News on Jan 6, 2010 9:40PM

President Obama managed to once again enrage the religious right with his recent appointment of Amanda Simpson, a transgender Chicago native who now calls Tucson home, to a position as the Department of Commerce's senior technical adviser within the Bureau of Industry and Security. Simpson, 49, is reportedly the first known transgender presidential appointee.

But Simpson would prefer to be lauded for her credentials, rather than gender identity, as she told ABC "Being the first sucks ... I'd rather not be the first but someone has to be first, or among the first. I think I'm experienced and very well qualified to deal with anything that might show up because I've broken barriers at lots of other places and I always win people over with who I am and what I can do."

Simpson, indeed, has an impressive CV, marked with thirty years working in the aerospace and defense industry, most recently serving as Deputy Director in Advanced Technology Development at Raytheon Missile Systems in Tucson. She also spent three years on the board of the National Center for Transgender Equality and even won the Democratic nomination to the Arizona House of Representatives in 2004.

Of the decision, anti-gay leader Peter LaBarbera, president of Americans For Truth, asked, "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." Representatives from Focus On the Family, Liberty Counsel and other far-right groups are also steaming.

And the late-night "comedians" have picked up on the story as well. David Letterman's controversial skit drew the response of LGBT advocacy organizations including the Human Rights Campaign, who demanded a public apology for the skit's "incendiary remarks."