(Jan. 4) -- President Barack Obama has selected Amanda Simpson as a senior technical adviser to the Department of Commerce, making her the first transgender appointment of his administration.
"I'm truly honored to have received this appointment and am eager and excited about this opportunity that is before me," Simpson said in a news release posted at the National Center for Transgender Equality's Web site. "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."
Simpson has worked for over 30 years in the defense and aerospace industries, most notably at Raytheon, the news release said. A former military test pilot with degrees in physics, engineering and business administration, Simpson was named a "Woman on the Move," by the YWCA in 2004, and received Arizona's Human Rights Foundation Individual Award in 2005.
Amanda Simpson is the first transgender person to be appointed by the Obama administration.
Simpson was the first transgender person to win a primary election when she became the Democratic nominee running for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in Tucson. She later lost her bid to become the first transgender member of Congress. In 2002, she made the transition from male to female, undergoing gender reassignment surgery while at Raytheon.
"Amanda is incredibly smart and capable," said Mara Keisling, executive director for the National Center for Transgender Equality, where Simpson has served as member of the board of directors for the past three years. "This was a merit-based appointment. What's significant about it is that we finally have an administration in which being transgender isn't a disqualifying factor for a job."
Appearing in a television forum in 2008, Simpson detailed her own experience as a transgender woman:
Filed under: Nation
2009 AOL Inc. All Rights Reserved.