This is how the media should discuss trans people – no misgendering, no references to “old names,” no assertions of so-called “biological sex,” no irrelevant digressions into medical history, no positioning of “trans” as more important than “woman” or “man”. Just this:
It’s not rocket science.
MADDOW: Still ahead, the census and the N-word, not that N-word, but still an eye-opener. That‘s coming up.
But first, a couple of holy mackerel stories in today‘s news. A big controversy tonight over a nomination to the Commerce Department. That‘s right – something going on at the always exciting Commerce Department has at least one social conservative group in a real tizzy.
President Obama nominated this woman, Amanda Simpson, to serve as senior technical adviser in the Commerce Department. She started that gig today. She got this job monitoring – which is monitoring the export of U.S. weapons technology because she‘s worked in that industry for three decades, most recently at Raytheon.
She also has degrees in physics, engineering, and business. She was a Clinton delegate during the 2008 campaign. She once ran for Arizona‘s House of Representatives as a Democrat. She secured the party nomination, but lost in the general election.
In other words, this woman has a resume designed for this job. Amanda Simpson is also transgendered. Cue the panicked press releases from the right in three, two – yes.
A spokesperson for Focus on the Family said, quote, “This appointment of a male-to-female transgendered activist to a high-level Commerce Department position appears to be payback to President Obama‘s far-left base for their political support.”
We contacted Mara Keisling of the National Center for Transgender Equality today. And she told us that, actually, while President Obama is the first president to appoint transgender people to his administration, Amanda Simpson is not the first.
A transgendered man is already working at the Labor Department. Everybody, panic! The only reason this second appointment got any attention at all from the national media and organizations like focus-on-your-own-darn-family is that the National Center for Transgender Equality put out a press release saying, “Hey, check it out. Our former board member is going to work in D.C. Isn‘t that neat?”
So while Ms. Simpson is not the first openly trans appointee, she‘s also probably not the last. Best of luck to Amanda Simpson in overseeing the whole export of U.S. weapons technology thing. And good luck to the religious right in arguing that a person with three decades of vital, pertinent experience and degrees in physics, engineering, and business isn‘t qualified to do this job.
And follow-up alert, good news for any other transgender people who are ostentatiously qualified for jobs with the federal government. The Obama administration has, quietly and without a ticker tape parade, changed language on the federal jobs Web site to reflect that employment discrimination on the basis of gender identity is not allowed.
The new rule applies only to federal jobs, of course. But since the federal government is the country‘s largest employer, this move will have some real impact. Much to the chagrin of the Family Research Council, who put out a strong statement, condemning the rule change, endorsing discrimination, and saying that they think transgender people should just be changed through magical Family Research Council-approved therapy.
Good luck with that Family Research Council, good luck. I don‘t mean that.