Amanda Simpson, a transgender woman and former test pilot for Raytheon, has been appointed a senior technical advisor to the Commerce Department, ABC News reports. Simpson is certainly one of the first transgender appointees, though nobody seems to know yet whether she's the first. Many bloggers on the left and right are reacting quietly to the news, though Mediate predicts we'll be hearing much more about Simpson in coming weeks.
- History Making, but Still a Ways to Go, writes Megan Carpentier at liberal talk radio network and website Air America. Carpentier applauds the appointment, but qualifies her enthusiasm. She recalls that "a House vote in 2007 on the Employee Non-Discriminiation Act excluded transgender individuals," but that "then-Senator Barack Obama supported a fully inclusive ENDA during his campaign for the presidency." Carpentier notes concerns that Nancy Pelosi will let the issue "fall by the wayside...to preserve her majority in 2011."
- No Historical Breakthrough, writes Kathryn Jean Lopez at conservative magazine National Review. "I have no doubt that Amanda Simpson has been through a lot in life. But am I wrong in thinking this is very far away from the next civil-rights movement?"
- Hypocritical? Dan Riehl at conservative Riehl World View suggests there's a gap in Democrats' tolerance: "Change your gender and you might get a Presidential appointment...Just don't change your political party, m'kay?"
- A Low-Profile Job, says Hamilton Nolan at Gawker. Nolan celebrates the appointment, but sarcastically notes it's an "obscure" job, concluding with a wish: "Here's hoping that more former males and former females will one day be appointed to government posts that people actually understand, as well."
- ...But Get Ready for More Media Spotlight, warns Steve Krakauer at Mediate. While he admits coverage so far has been sparse, Krakauer predicts that once the media "kicks back in gear in 2010" we should be "ready to hear more."