Amanda Simpson became first transgender presidential appointee

December 31, 2009

President Barack Obama named Amanda Simpson to the position of Senior Technical Adviser in the Bureau of Industry and Security at the U.S. Department of Commerce. She is the first transgender woman appointed by any administration and the first transgender individual to hold an executive branch position.

Simpson, who is an experienced flight instructor and test pilot with degrees in physics, engineering, and business administration, spent 30 years in the aerospace and defense industry. While working at Raytheon Missile Systems in Tucson, AZ, she made a six-year transition from male to female and successfully lobbied to add gender identity and expression to the company’s corporate employment policy.

Simpson has long been an advocate for LGBT issues, serving on the boards of various equal rights organizations, including the National Center for Transgender Equality. She told ABC News, “I’m truly honored to have received this appointment and am eager and excited about this opportunity that is before me. 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.”

Sources: Amanda Simpson, Transgender Candidate, Appointed To Commerce Post, The Huffington Post; First Transgender Presidential Appointee Fears Being Labeled 'Token' ABC News.


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Amanda Simpson is believed to be the first transgender presidential appointee. She was appointed by President Obama to the Bureau of Industry and Security at the U.S. Department of Commerce on December 31, 2009.

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Amanda Simpson became first transgender presidential appointee." (Viewed on September 26, 2023) <>.


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