Transgender Obama Appointee Draws Right Wing Fire

Amanda Simpson is now working for the federal government. She was appointed by President Barack Obama to serve as the Senior Technical Adviser to the U.S. Department of Commerce. Simpson is eminently qualified for the position with a background as a test pilot, degrees in physics, engineering, business administration, and years of experience in the aerospace industry.

The religious right though is up in arms over her appointment. The Family Research Council pulled out their best purple prose to announce this affront to decency:

”On New Year’s Eve, when most Americans were waiting for the ball to drop in Times Square, the Obama Administration dropped another bombshell in its agenda to radicalize America …”

And what’s so radical about Amanda Simpson? Well, once upon a time, she was known as Mitchell Simpson. You see, Amanda Simpson is transgender – which is defined as “unhappiness with one’s biological sex or its usual gender role, with the desire for the body and role of the opposite sex.” Simpson is among many who have done something about that unhappiness and have undergone the arduous process of changing her gender from male to female.

If gays and lesbians make the religious right lose their minds, transgender people make their heads explode. Matt Barber, Director of Cultural Affairs for the Liberty Counsel, called her appointment “political correctness run amok.”

Barber continued to express his concern regarding the future ramifications of Simpson’s appointment, arguing that it is part of a larger movement within the current administration.“With hate crimes legislation and ENDA (Employment Non Discrimination Act) and other radical GLBT pieces of legislation that are being pushed by the Obama Administration,” Barber told CNA, those who disagree with the GLBT perspective “literally can and will face criminal or civil penalty.”

Who cares if Simpson is qualified for the job; the real fear on the religious right is that they won’t have the right to vilify Simpson for simply being who she is – and having the temerity to be happy about it.

The FRC even goes so far as to assert:

”Gender identity disorder” is a recognized mental illness that should be treated-not affirmed and protected.

The American Psychological Association would beg to differ. In 2008 they issued a statement calling on “psychologists in their professional roles to provide appropriate, nondiscriminatory treatment to transgender and gender variant individuals and encourages psychologists to take a leadership role in working against discrimination towards transgender and gender variant individuals.”

That doesn’t stop the religious right from using Simpson’s appointment to encourage discrimination against transgender people and raise money to fight the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) still pending in Congress that would outlaw discrimination against transgender people, as well as gays and lesbians.

Simpson’s appointment merely confirms the right’s fears that Obama is out to destroy America.

Peter LaBarbera, president of Americans for Truth voiced similar concern on the Focus on the Family Action website on Jan. 4. “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,” he said.

No, Pete, Obama is not “pandering to the gay lobby.” If he were, he would have repealed Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, overturned DOMA, and actually voiced support for marriage equality for gays and lesbians. What Obama did was actually hire someone who had the credentials to do the job, without regard to race, religion, sexual orientation, gender, or gender identity. The last resident of the White House, a true panderer, would have never done that.

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