Dr. Jillian T. Weiss

Transgender Appointee to Department of Commerce

Filed By Dr. Jillian T. Weiss | December 31, 2009 3:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics, Politics, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: Amanda Simpson, Arizona, Department of Commerce, NCTE, Out & Equal, Raytheon, transgender

The National Center for Transgender Equality announced today, Thursday, that Amanda Simpson, Simpson Amanda.jpga transgender woman with thirty years of experience in the aerospace industry, has been appointed by the Obama Administration as a Senior Technical Advisor to the Department of Commerce. She will be working in the Bureau of Industry and Security.

The press release from NCTE notes that this is one of the first transgender presidential appointees to the federal government.

This is big news indeed.

Simpson is quoted as saying: "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."

Simpson brings considerable professional credentials to her new job. For thirty years, she has worked in the aerospace and defense industry, most recently serving as Deputy Director in Advanced Technology Development at Raytheon Missile Systems in Tucson, Arizona. She holds degrees in physics, engineering and business administration along with an extensive flight background. She is a certified flight instructor and test pilot with 20 years of experience.

She has also been very active in political and community groups. She has served on the Board of Directors of two national organizations: Out & Equal and NCTE. In Arizona, she has been on the board of Wingspan, the Southern Arizona Gender Alliance, the Southern Arizona ACLU and the Arizona Human Rights Fund (now Equality Arizona).

In 2004, the YWCA recognized her as one of their "Women on the Move," and in the same year, she won the Democratic nomination to the Arizona House of Representatives. In 2005, she was given the Arizona Human Rights Foundation Individual Award.


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I find this an interesting news report.

When I first read it I could only wonder, is Amanda Simpson a person who is a women full time, that is, has she, for example, taken hormones, transitioned from male to female and had surgery, so that her only concerns in life are now the work she does--and, of course, her appointment.

Or, is she as person who, on Monday, say, presents as Amanda and on Tuesday, because of the current whim, presents as, say, Andy.

There is little way of telling because given the term transgender she, of course, could be either. And, yes, it is important. Otherwise, why would we even talk about lesbians; we'd only talk about gay.

I suppose there could be the intermediate stage, that, because of money, she hasn't been able to afford surgery and still is male in some way--though given the work history detailed, I don't think this is likely.

I expect the vitriol as once I was described, but, I have a few things to counter this.

Unlike some commentators to this site, Amanda Simpson is not the member of a transgressive community, but of a rather conservative industry--a war industry--in what I understand is a rather conservative state. John McCain's home, I believe.

The other point I want to make is regarding the practice I see in articles I read through the electronic databases available to me through Carleton University.

In these articles, the evidence provided is from the struggles of transsexual women, almost exclusively. The go to court, like Diane Schorer, and all the other women who transition on the job, and have to sue to keep their work.

But the authors--I'm thinking of one feminist lawyer in particular--go on to attempt to generalize--twist--conclusions to make them include those who would be transgender, that is those whose lives are something other than, say, Diane Schorer's: part time, or presenting cross gender in some way; generally speaking, transgressive in some way.

I don't know, the picture I see above is not transgressive in any way I cay see. I doubt Amanda Simpson has any time to be other than just a women in a demanding life.

The concern I'm expressing is transgender people are free-riding on the life of a most talented and hardworking woman--and she is not the only one.

I'm open evidence of legal, or other struggles of transgender people--crossdressers, transgressive people--whose struggles can be generalized, twisted, so that transsexual people, who present cisgender, can free-ride in return.

If this is not possible, which is my reading, simply make the distinction, point out the differences. Point out the lives of those who are not transgressive are not the lives of those who are.

Spot on, Jessica.

No, I don't see my own life as transgressing gender boundaries, more like affirming them.

But my opinions don't matter, do they? Both Ms Simpson and I will be seen in the same light as the most extreme examples of gender outlaw by the ignorant.

I'm a Naval Combat System Designer rather than Aerospace Engineer, and a Rocket Scientist rather than Test Pilot. But apart from that, yes, Ms Simpson and I are both rather conservative, conventional, members of the military-industrialist complex. A lot of Trans women are, it suits our peculiar neurology.

The persecution we suffer at the hands of FoF etc can perhaps be viewed as poetic justice. One thing though - hanging round a bunch of people like yourself is a mind-expanding exercise. I'm less of a staid, prim, prig than I was.

And my studies of neuroanatomy quickly led me to believe that the gender binary is as real and useful (and as ultimately silly for that matter) as dividing people into "tall" and "short". It fits some people well, it's not just an arbitrary social construction with no objective facts to back it up, as most "gendered behaviour" is. But the divide, and the binary definition, that is entirely arbitrary.

I was taken aback by the use of "transgender" as well. Then I saw that Simpson herself had used the word. So as a reader, I'm confused. I might assume that she is or was transsexual, but there's no way to know for sure from the post.

I just wonder, will John Berry fight to keep her from using the women's restroom?

Jessica and Zoe,

First and foremost, no matter how you and I see ourselves, the vast majority of the ppl *I* know *do* see you (and me) as gender transgressive, b/c we were assigned male at birth, and 'lived' as male for a period of our life, *then* switched to female. They don't give a flying fuck how we feel or have always felt, or agree with us that we were 'born in the wrong body.' To them, the problem isn't with our bodies, it is with our minds and our morals. To them, no matter what we have done (hormones, surgery, and so forth), we are no more women than Arnold Schwarzenegger is.

I hope where you live, ppl are different than they are here (Indiana, in the Midwest US), but that is the reality here. (And please note, I *do* see a difference between crossdressers and genderqueers, and transsexuals, I am just saying that the general public doesn't know, and doesn't much care). It may give you comfort to feel secure in the binary, but I can tell you that if you lived here, most cis-women wouldn't consider you part of the female side.

Jessica, I know this gets back to other threads, and I have learned a lot from your posts. They clarified a lot of things for me, most esp. trans politics. However, I don'y understand why you have to make exactly the same protest against every single post where the word 'transgender' is used, esp. something positive like this one. Honestly, you remind me of the right-wing/'men's rights' guys who post on feminist sites I frequent (no, I am NOT saying you are a right-wing man, I am making an analogy, ok?)

These guys just post the same talking points in the comments to every single article. They don't change anyone's minds (tho, as with you, I usually get some new perspectives from them), and they certainly aren't there to reconsider anything they think. I have never understood why they even come there, unless they feel they are fighting the good fight to stop something evil and oppressive. I find it really demoralizing, b/c they don't add any new thoughts, they just keep saying the same thing over and over, and often derail discussion among ppl who really want to examine the issue under discussion, rather than have yet another rant on 'misandry.'

It esp. blows my mind relative to this article, b/c Ms. Simpson calls *herself* 'transgendered', and she is on the board of gender groups. So it doesn't seem that *she* has a problem with 'crossdressers and gender extremists' freeloading on her efforts. Tho I hate assigning and labeling ppl, I am assuming that she is a transsexual just from her face, and also form winning the YWCA (a pretty conservative group, I would think?) Woman Of The Year way back in 2004.

I read your blog, and I know that you have personal reasons for hating the 'transgender' umbrella. Plus, apparently, there are articles that you read elsewhere that have some sort of negative impact for you. We aren't seeing those articles here, tho, and if you don't explain how they are relevant other than thru insinuation, what do they mean for this little news announcement? The same goes for your general arguments against 'transgender' and your seemingly strong prejudice against everyone who calls themselves 'trans' except for transsexuals. After reading all your posts in the current trans threads, I think understand your point (at least in a very, very narrow way), but I just can't understand its usefulness in the real world. As I said before, maybe *your* real world is different from mine, and that is where the disconnect lies?

Oh, and just for the record, I too am a 'classic' ('true'? 'real'?) transsexual, am post-op, and consider myself a woman, but I identify as transgendered if I need to explain my history. I never saw myself as a crossdresser, and in spite of the heavy push by my first therapist, I never considered myself genderqueer, but I also see myself as a gender transgressor in our current culture. I guess that disqualifies me as a 'real' transsexual in your book?

I am very interested to see your responses.

Carol

First and foremost, no matter how you and I see ourselves, the vast majority of the ppl *I* know *do* see you (and me) as gender transgressive, b/c we were assigned male at birth, and 'lived' as male for a period of our life, *then* switched to female. They don't give a flying fuck how we feel or have always felt, or agree with us that we were 'born in the wrong body.'
Exactly my point when I wrote:

But my opinions don't matter, do they? Both Ms Simpson and I will be seen in the same light as the most extreme examples of gender outlaw by the ignorant.

And the very worst are the RadFem separatists, who rival the Westboro Baptists.

To them, the problem isn't with our bodies, it is with our minds and our morals. To them, no matter what we have done (hormones, surgery, and so forth), we are no more women than Arnold Schwarzenegger is.
YMMV on that one. Or at least mine would.

You forget - I'm Intersexed, and in an unusual way. My transition was not volitional, just as it isn't with other dichogamous humans.

Of course many pretend that isn't the case, that intersexed people can't exist because "God doesn't make mistakes".

It may give you comfort to feel secure in the binary, but I can tell you that if you lived here, most cis-women wouldn't consider you part of the female side.
I don't have that problem, or at least, not as much. I have a slightly different one instead. The same people who if I were usually trans would not accept me as female have a different issue with me: they don't accept me as human. I'm not generally regarded as a perverted, morally corrupt, deluded mutilated man. Instead, the very fringes of the Religious Reich regard me as Evil Incarnate, quite possibly a Devil in human form, an inhuman freak whose extermination is required for Humanity's survival.

As regards any feeling of "comfort in the security of the gender binary" - not as such. The places I hang around in, like Bilerico, tend not to have many straight, conservative women in, do they? While in society at large, I may have the security of "being in the herd" - if they can ignore the whole "natural sex change" bit, something I don't keep secret - in places like this I'm in a distinct and often hated minority. Every time I see "Republican" spelt "Rethuglican", I'm reminded of that hatred, and that I better not be too loud in expressing my opinions.

(Actually, I'm a Monarchist, not a Republican, but that's beside the point - the two words have different meanings in Australia)

Zoe,

Sorry, I didn't realize you were intersexed. I agree, that is a totally different thing, which has so many brutal consequences. I am glad that you have made it thru to a good point in your life! :)

Oh, and I want to clarify one thing: When I was talking how others see ppl who have transitioned, I meant if they know our history, which is very different from passing well and being stealth.

When I interact with ppl who don't know my history, they just accept and treat me as a cis-woman. Ppl who knew me before are a different story (I still have a lot of ppl refer to me with male pronouns at work, which is quite full of those conservative technical ppl you like!). The most interesting situation is getting to know someone new at work, have them come talk to me all the time and enjoy hanging with me, then have them find out my history and disappeare.

Carol :)

Hi Carol!

While for most Intersexed people, their situation is completely different from Trans people, for about 1 in 10 it's about the same.

They're (mostly) the ones who were surgically mutilated when young to make them look like the wrong sex. There's little practical difference between getting that corrected, and the usual process of transition.

For that matter, a significant percentage - maybe 5%? of Trans women find out they're actually Intersexed when the surgeon does their genital surgery.

There are also a few Intersexed people who are dichogamous - they have a "natural sex change" to some degree. That's a gross over-simplification, but close enough. The change is almost always partial, and they often require genital reconstruction.

See this CNN story on a cluster of such cases in Gaza.

Most such cases go FtoM. Again, they transition, just not quite in the usual fashion, and with no control over the timing.

So while I'm technically Intersexed, for most purposes, Trans is close enough. I answer to either. I used to look male. I transitioned to look female. So what if this was mainly from natural causes?

(no, I am NOT saying you are a right-wing man, I am making an analogy, ok?)

This isn't a problem, Carol.

I've been called a man on Aria Blue's Blog in comments. I've been called many things, and denounced in public, at board meetings, in recent years over my advocacy for transsexual and transgender people.

Usually, though not exclusively, these attacks have been by gay and lesbian people.

My interactions with most cissexual, cisgender people are quite ordinary.

And, quite frankly, I'm expecting things to be very different in the hew year. Being a broken record is an interesting existential state. Eventually, people, some people, do learn and change.

How could any of us benefit from this possibility of human nature if we simply changed our line to accommodate current prejudice?

Jessica,

I just wanted you to know, that I personally see you fully as a woman, in all ways, and wasn't trying to deny you your identity. I generally take ppl as they claim to be, tho of course I am a deeply flawed person.

I have no problem with cis-ppl either, if they don't know my history. Do the cis-ppl to whom you are referring know your history?

I think being denounced for standing up for others' right is a good thing. I have read your blog, and I know that you are a sincere activist for trans* rights. And it must be beyond frustrating to be not even thrown under the bus, but just run over and ignored when the bus leaves.

I don't have the long history that you do, so I missed the introduction of the term transgender back when, so transgender is just what I learned. Maybe that is why I don't have the aversion to the term that you do.? I also admit that I am not the brightest, and really don't naturally think analytically (for example, separating and categorizing things), so I have to focus really hard to see your point. It's almost like those Magic Eye 3D pics you have to look at just right, and if you lose concentration, the pic collapses back to chaos.

Really, I tend much more to thinking holistically, tho I try to remain sensitive to the parts of the whole. I constantly try to educate ppl about privilege and unconscious bias toward ppl not in their in-group, and in doing so, I try to explain the differences within the group I am discussing, as best I can. For example, if I am talking about the discrimination to which POC are subjected, I try to get them to understand the diversity of the ppl involved, not just the larger ethnic groups, but also the vast differences among the ppl in the groups.

Ppl know I am gay, and I am very open and approachable, so I am often asked about the gay family. I try to explain the general discrimination faced by us all, but also talk about the different ways that ppl are gay, and the different discriminations they face. Same with trans. I make the distinctions among the different groups and again, that within the groups there is a lot of diversity.

BTW, I don't include intersexed ppl in the trans* group, even tho they often transition from what they were assigned as at birth and raised as. It just seems to me that ppl who were born intersexed have their own complicated issues, way beyond transitioning (which is I think how you feel about transsexuals versus all the others included in the transgender umbrella term? ).

Carol :)

Carol, I believe you do yourself a disservice in your self-effacing comments. Particularly when you say

I also admit that I am not the brightest, and really don't naturally think analytically (for example, separating and categorizing things), so I have to focus really hard to see your point.

I can only agree wholeheartedly when you say you work

to educate ppl about privilege and unconscious bias toward ppl not in their in-group, and in doing so, I try to explain the differences within the group I am discussing, as best I can.

This is what I work to do; I also "explain the differences within the group" of those described as transgender and transsexual. This is the basis of my advocacy.

I appreciate your respectful comments and am happy to working towards common goals we can find together.

i support you, for what it's worth.

Aria's blog does not require post approval. If someone denigrated you, i would call them out directly. i wish i had a dime for every time i've had to do it online.

Casting that light on her is unfair.

I apologize if someone called you a man on my blog Jessica, that isn't acceptable. Anon is right, I generally don't censor things but if I had seen that I would have done something. Was that in the thread with 200 comments? I'm sure I missed something in all that.

Erica Keppler | January 1, 2010 4:21 AM

Amanda is a fully transitioned transsexual. When you meet her, and I think it comes out in the photograph, it's pretty clear she's had FFS. That's a sign of a high-dollar transition, not a part time crossdresser.

Last I heard, she was and probably still is on the board at the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE). It should come as no surprise in the position she's in that she is comfortable with the label of transgender.

rapid butterfly | January 1, 2010 11:54 AM

I'm super happy about Ms. Simpson's appointment, for her sake, the country's, and for ours as a community. Brava!

I would like to just note an oppositional phrase in Erica's comment with which I have a bit of a problem: "it's pretty clear she's had FFS. That's a sign of a high-dollar transition, not a part time crossdresser." I don't care for the phrase, though I'm sure no harm was meant by it.

Here's why: I think there is a kind of implicit classism at work in that phrase.

I don't like to see the spending of "high dollars" placed as the opposition to being a "mere" part time cross dresser. A lot of us simply cannot afford FFS even if we did want it. A lot of us have to transition fully the best we can without the benefit of "high dollars." (For me it will be hard enough to pay for SRS, though I'll find a way; [and honestly I don't even want FFS].

The fact that we may not all be as pretty and presentable as Ms. Simpson doesn't make us "nothing more than" part time crossdressers.

Again, I'm not saying anybody's stating otherwise explicitly, just observing that if we can we should try not unintentionally to marginalize or delegitimize the transitions of some by affirming the transitions of others, especially where the affirming is in part based on the spending of "high dollars."

~mina

For the benefit of Jessica:

Amanda is a transsexual who spends a great deal of time working on behalf of trans political efforts.

She doesn't see the problem that you see, btw.

She's a tad bit south of me, lol, in Tucson, where the laws (in part due to her efforts) are much more friendly than in my part (Phoenix).

I'm really thrilled to see her get this -- and I know she's on cloud nine herself.

John Whalen | January 1, 2010 10:27 AM

This is indeed great news. I came to know Amanda while volunteering some years ago at the GLBT center (Wingspan) in Tucson. She is an outstanding choice, and it is nice to know a selection was made based on qualification.
My Partner and I wish her all the very best in her new position.

What a good news story to begin the New Year with!!

My Partner was a volunteer at Wingpan in Tucson. We are both extremely delighted and pleased to learn of Amanda's appointment.

We both wish her all best in this new venture.

All I can say is "Go Amanda go"!!!!! It makes me proud that she came from Arizona!

In my ongoing advocacy in Canada, I have long worked for both transsexual and transgender people: I continue to work for the addition of both gender identity and gender expression to both human rights law and criminal law.

I worked for Canadians for Equal Marriage which was the advocacy organization for the successful struggle for equal marriage--what gay or same-sex marriage is called in Canada.

At that time I believed it was important to work for what could be worked for--gay rights--in part because there are many transsexual people who are gay, lesbian and bisexual.

I am not certain about the whether transgender people are gay, lesbian, bisexual in the way transsexual people are; though there certainly are gay, lesbian, and bisexual people who are transgressive--but in Canadian law they are already protected by sexual orientation in a way that non-gay, non-lesbian, non-bisexual people are not.

I believed that that struggle was the current one and that, no matter what the results, it would benefit all gender and sexual minorities.

I made more than a few contacts with whom I still work--and may yet bring about some of the legal reforms needed by non-gay transgender and all transsexual people.

However--and those who have read my blog will have read about this--gay, lesbian, bisexual organizations have abandoned non-gay transgender and all transsexual people. Recently, one gay organization--or at least its executive director--defined gender non-conforming as part of "all things associated" with homosexuality.

1) It is difficult to work with people who don't want to work with one if they don't want to--even though their organizations have formally declared they will--gay, lesbian, bisexual.

2) It is difficult to work with people who are not politically active--transgender.

While it is true there are those who self-label themselves as transgender I would otherwise think of as transsexual, they seem not to be active, not to have been active, anywhere I have, and many others have.

BTW, as I have written here, and elsewhere, it is quite routine in Canada, certainly in Toronto, for both transgender and transsexual, or transsexual and transgender to be declared in program names, in outreach, in political action. This seems to me the only appropriate approach if one is truly inclusive and non-oppressive--unless one is working with a focused demographic, a recent term I found to describe working with gay men exclusively.

Why wouldn't one just say gay if one actually meant gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, two spirit?

Why are transsexual people the only ones routinely erased? Why the special treatment? Why are transsexual people not treated the way lesbian, transgender, two spirit, intersex people are?

This is the definition of oppression.

It is a rather hard political truth, but to work for the goals of others does not seem to be a productive path towards one's own political goals.

The gay movementin Canada, now that equal marriage has been achieved, has all but disappeared. In the somewhat desperate attempts of those gay--usually liberationist--activists left, they have focused on sexual orientation to the explicit exclusion of both gender identity and gender expression; legal reforms, which now only would benefit transsexual people, have dropped off their radar--though there is some mention of SRS.

Some might argue that, since gay people are no longer interested in the legal reforms that would benefit transsexual and non-gay transgender people, we should abandon such reforms, too, because, well, the only things that can ever be gained are what gay people want. This is not an argument I support.

If I label myself something else, who will ever know of my needs. If I work for someone else's political goals, who will ever work for mine.

I did. They've got theirs. They're gone.

Some think this a broken record. Frankly, all this above is what I hear; a broken record.

And yes, while this perspective is permitted in comments, it is quite counter to the ideology of Bilerico and it is unthinkable it would ever be permitted as an article at the top of the page.

Maybe she just prefers the label transgender. Seems simple to me.

Frankly I'm in Canada too (which from your comments you seem to be) and I have yet to have any problems or see a large lack of protections.

People in life can be asses too, but hey free speech. Its a *real* issue, but like, the only solution is education.. not laws. Laws cannot make people be friendly to you.

Maybe not, but as an American Congresswoman once said

Laws cannot change hearts, but they can restrain the heartless

More than that, laws, certainly human rights law, Chapter 15 (of the Canadian Charter of Rights & Freedoms), amendments to the Criminal Code of Canada, and amendments to the Canada Health Act (regarding access to SRS), can have pivotal effect for what is needed for both transgender and transsexual people.

There is much advocacy for both legal reform and health access, as well as education, now, for transgender and transsexual people, and in preparation for the future.

I hope you will join us.

I'm all for continuing to push for more protections.

I responded solely since just felt your comments were highly negative and glass half full, when things are way better here then so many places for trans rights. You also seem to have an issue with people who would be 'transgender' instead of 'transsexual' which I'm perplexed by. They can identify however they want.

I prefer trans, why? Well, transsexual carries a lot of negative connotations outside of trans circles. Lot of trans topics do, and its easy to forget it and then be caught off guard when people react bad. Of course, this is the education aspect..

I argue for rights to gender expression, and gender expression goes beyond transsexuals and will gain better support then pushing 'transsexual rights'. Maybe this doesn't encompass SRS yet and some other things, and they are ongoing fights as well. At least already numerous provinces support SRS (tho with many limits in place).. and in time we can push that to more hopefully.

I argue not only for gender expression, for those who choose, for whatever reason, to express their gender in a way that transgresses gender norms, but also for gender identity, for those whose selves, not just their expression, do not conform to what are considered either gender or sex norms.

I agree gender expression covers many more than just transsexual people, including transgender people who are neither transsexual nor gay. It has long been argued, including recently in the human rights complaint of the executive director of the Canadian Rainbow Health Coalition--not, curiously enough, the trans-inclusive Coalition itself--that the gender expression of gay, lesbian and bisexual people is already included in the almost universal application of laws that include sexual orientation.

While there may not yet be the substantive protections these laws intend, there is the legal foundation--but only for gay and lesbian people.

It is curious how, after many years of rather successful legal reform, now, when transsexual people begin to demand the same formal protections that exist for women, people of colour, and gay and lesbian people, it is now declared these protections are of no value.

There are geographical and intellectual locales where there are different interpretations of various words and concepts--you declare that where you are, there are negative connotations to the word transsexual; from the evidence of programs, outreach, posted to the Rainbow Health Network email list, transsexual is co-equal to the word transgender.

I choose to work from a position of equality, inclusion and anti-oppression; I choose to declare both transgender and transsexual.

You are free to choose otherwise.

I hardly feel its a locale, watch tv, movies, and the internet.. think back to time you spent in school. And yes, this is a result of fear and phobias of trans-ness, and a end result of oppression.

I still feel its equally oppressive to decry trans people who choose not to use certain terms, or judge their identity by it somehow labeling them as lower (points back up to your first post to this news article). You acted like since she uses the label transgender she must be playing gender like a game >.>

As a Canadian I have humans rights protections, being a human an all. I don't need protections for a specific medical condition..

Not to be confused with me saying protections for people are not needed, I mean it as in we do have a lot of them in Canada through existing laws. I definitely want people to have protections in life. They have said sex includes gender identity protections, frankly if this is true I'm cool with this, maybe some people are afraid of trans identities being grouped with sexual preference but its symantics at this point if it works and protects.

There are others areas to improve or fill in gaps rly..

Maybe you should speak to Bill Siksay, member of parliament, and tell him sexual orientation includes gender identity--yes, I know, in various American states sexual orientation has been legally defined to include gender identity, though I wonder about the effect when many gay men do not accept SRS and actively oppose it.

Siksay continues to work for the inclusion of gender identity and gender expression in the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code of Canada--exactly where sexual orientation has been for about a decade and 2002 respectively.

You seem quite content to cater to current prejudice; I choose to struggle in a different direction.

"in various American states sexual orientation has been legally defined to include gender identity, though I wonder about the effect when many gay men do not accept SRS and actively oppose it."

You seem to be infurring arguments in here that I am not making.

If anything your insinuating gender identity protections are for only people who get SRS?..

I'm tran, transsexual, transitioned, and likely non-op. SRS is not defining of who I am, and no one except my BF would ever see whats in my pants. Guess I'm ranked lower still eh?

I almost forgot:

Maybe its true that good activists/advocates always present a different line whenever they speak, for fear of boring those whom they wish to persuade of the merits and necessity of their position. Maybe they will even change their position because it gets old and stale.

If it is too difficult to talk about transsexual people--because it is too hard to understand some people are born with the neurological wiring of the opposite sex and need to conform their bodies to this necessity--is it really easier to declare what they want to do is dress in the clothes of the opposite sex, that they are transgender, also? That this facilitates political action?

And when people understand this, that the common thing is people are exploring their gender, then we will tell them there is a subclass of people whose sex is different from their anatomy--with different needs than those who are exploring. This is an argument that has often been made in comments on Bilerico.

However, if they do. If they change their line, their story, what will it accomplish if no one knows what they're talking about? Or, having changed their line, believe them?

Isn't it much better to talk truth to power from the beginning?

This is what women do. This is what people of colour do. This is what all other oppressed people do. Why is there the explicit advocacy here to lie? But only as far as transsexual people are concerned?

Broken record time: this is oppression.

"That’s great, I mean he hardly looks like a man in a wig at all!"

If you'd like to see more about how Ms. Simpson's appointment is being treated on the right, check this out.

Or this:

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2418913/posts

Notice that the same people who don't believe in evolution become DNA experts when it comes to MTF TSs.

Thank you for the link, Dr. Weiss. Those comments were very hard to read, but it's good to remind myself that there are lots of people out there who think the same way. I live in a bubble to some extent. Everyone who knows that I'm trans, with few exceptions, is supportive. And I'm not a public person.

Kudos to Ms. Simpson for getting the appointment, and for her courage in being open about her history. People have said I have a lot of courage, but I don't know that I have that much.

Dr Weiss,

This is prolly very shallow of me, but the first thing I did after reading your article was to expand her pic. The next thing I did was to be jealous of her jawline and chin! Wish *mine* looked like that!

Carol :)

PS: I will check out your link, but honestly, I expect it will just be stuff I have heard many times before, much of it directed at me, esp. by my family...

Carol, what you are feeling is quite natural for women and for women of transsexual history.

We are denigrated not only by some cisgender, cissexual people, but also many transgender people and gay and lesbian people.

We must make our own way; it can be done and is done, successfully by us.

Although its not easy, I can say from personal experience the fear felt early in transition does pass.

You have read my blog, please, if you need, please contact me through my blog.

Jessica,

Thanks for the support! However, at this point I have heard it all, and am fairly well inured against ignorance, judgement, and hate. I hang about with ppl who accept me, and just ignore the rest as much as possible. The hardest, of course, is work--there are ppl with whom I have to interact, whether they accept me and treat me with respect or not. I have been off for a bit, and I am dreading going back on Monday. ~

In all areas of my life, I am pretty cautious about getting involved with new ppl, and have pretty much avoided the gay 'community,' esp. the lesbian community (even tho that is how I identify, more so than as trans--lesbian is who I am, and trans has to do with misalignment of my body with who I feel I am). I have a few female bi friends, but don't go to lesbian events/hangouts b/c I really don't want to feel I am intruding on someone's space, or have ppl resent me. I may be wrong, but I often wonder if the bi girls are more accepting b/c they aren't locked into rigid sex/gender preferences.

At any rate, no matter what unhappiness I have to deal with, my life is infinitely better than before I transitioned, and I don't regret a thing. In most ways, I have a happy, satisfying life now. Like many of the ppl who posted on Austen's Tree thread, I wouldn't be here if I hadn't transitioned, so I feel every day is a blessing bestowed on me, even those in which I have to deal with mean-spirited ppl.

Thanks again!

Carol :)

Sue Lefkowitz | January 1, 2010 7:24 PM

She is a success and she looks great. Trailblazers in most minority groups usually do. I'm pretty sure that the things she did , a lot were before her transition and she might not have gotten this far in those fields----- if she had been born female--------but so what. Imagine Bush making this appointment. This a real step forward and the fact that she is richer and prettier than me is beside the point. I worked in social services and on a good day look like Barbra Streisand. I got appointed to the Board of Directors of the local Salvation Army which was a big deal for trannies here in Dixieland where the Stars and Bars fly high (for real on I-4). Even so, some in this community think I am a snob cause of that. We have to enjoy our sisters successes cause their have been so many failures.

This is a victory for freedom regardless of the life history or community involvement of this woman.

Her professional experience in aerospace makes her well qualified for the duties of this government position. There is no reason to quantify this appointment by surgery, looks, finances, organizational participation, or political affiliation.

The future workplace will hold a vast diversity of transgender individuals, some out, some not. Let them be judged by their performance in the workplace, rather than participation in the trans community.

Basically, a person who worked the game as a transgender advocate was rewarded with crumbs from the master's table. It shouldn't be surprising this person doesn't mind the term transgender when that is what she has been promoting for the last few years.

It's like Jessica says; the hierarchy dribbles favors for those who play the game and keep everyone in the group in their place. That's all this is, and there is nothing to be happy for at all here. Just another token propping up the system everyone hates.

Sue Lefkowitz | January 3, 2010 12:17 AM

Any body who denigrates this appointment because Ms. Simpson is not an ideological purist is missing the point. How many of us get any appointments. That is like the Malcolm or Martin debate. Who got the job done anyway?

Sue Lefkowitz | January 3, 2010 11:02 AM

And lets not forget as we watch all the fantastic African-American and Latino ballplayers that there were those who thought Jackie Robinson was a stooge and puppet of the "white establismemt". He had to be better anybody else (and he looked good too) I doubt that the Dodgers would have picked ,say,a hot-tempered non-conformist like Manny Ramirez to break the color barrier.

The announcement of Ms. Simpson's appointment has just made it to CNN.com. Click here

It amazes me that political pandering still seems to fool folks into thinking they give a shake about anything other than reelection.

Let me know when Gitmo is closed or any of the other million promises the newest Puppet in Chief currently occupying the Executive Branch spun on the campaing trail, but has yet to follow through upon actually come to pass.

Outside of her trans status, she is just another person who has spent their life working for a giant government military contractor.

Somehow the unmanned Raytheon drones relentlessly bombing funerals in Pakistan ripening the recruitment efforts of future terrorists is a bigger concern to me as it relates to what type of nation my son and his generation will inherent.

Hooray, now we can add a Trans person to the list of those working to expand the empire.

Anyone ever heard of a "parrot" victory?

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Erica Keppler | February 9, 2010 1:56 AM

Yes, I know this is a dead subject. I made the mistake of looking back at my own comments to discover a reply to one I made. Just a quick reply to that reply.

The post I had intended to be replying to written by Jessica included this statement, "When I first read it I could only wonder, is Amanda Simpson a person who is a women full time, that is, has she, for example, taken hormones, transitioned from male to female and had surgery, so that her only concerns in life are now the work she does--and, of course, her appointment.

"Or, is she as person who, on Monday, say, presents as Amanda and on Tuesday, because of the current whim, presents as, say, Andy."

My comment about the obviousness of investment Amanda has made into her transition is to point out that such speculation as to the seriousness of her transition was unjustified. I never meant to imply anything classist about it. Quite the contrary. I wrote it to expose the lack of basis used to attempt to discredit Amanda on classist grounds. Spending lots of money on your transition does not make you any better or worse than someone who doesn't. However, it is rare indeed to encounter the part time crossdresser who is willing to undergo extreme facial surgical intervention. You've got to be pretty serious about the face you want to show the world to do that. So, even though FFS doesn't make anyone better than anyone else, it does take them further away on the level plane of equality from those who don't. It represents a very significant horizontal shift, not a vertical one.

rapid butterfly | February 9, 2010 6:17 AM

Erica, I think you may have been replying to my post (perhaps mine among others). I do understand that your main point was that Ms. Simpson is in no way any kind of person other than a post-transition woman of trans history. I knew you most likely didn't intend anything classist and think I said as much. I appreciate your clarification. My point was a general point about a tendency I've seen in our community, to conflate dollar outlay with seriousness or authenticity.