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Amanda Simpson, Transgender Candidate, Appointed To Commerce Post

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President Obama has appointed Amanda Simpson, a transgender woman, to be the Senior Technical Adviser to the Commerce Department.

"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 statement. "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 -- a former test pilot and 2004 YWCA "Woman On The Move" -- has been active in the aerospace and defense industry for the past 30 years. She most recently served as Deputy Director in Advanced Technology Development for Raytheon, where she transitioned from male to female.

In the past decade, Simpson has been highly active in GLBT issues. In 2005, she successfully worked to have Raytheon adopt gender identity into its Equal Employment Opportunity Policy. That same year, she ran unsuccessfully for the Arizona House of Representatives.

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