President Obama gave Amanda Simpson a worthy (not to mention wordy) promotion from Executive Director of the U.S. Army Office of Energy Initiatives to Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Operational Energy.
In 2010, she made history as the first openly trans woman to be appointed by the Obama (or any) administration. Now she has achieved another milestone in a series of firsts.
When Simpson was transitioning, she worked for defense contractor Raytheon and had clients such as the Air Force and the Navy. In an interview with R29, she recalls that when news spread that some upper management suggested she be moved off to other activities, her defense contacts insisted they didn’t care whether she wore “slacks or a dress” and that she remain in her role.
“And, this was coming from people with stars, bars, and little birdies on their shoulders. They understood that it’s all about the ability to do the job,” she said.
Simpson’s new gig arrives the same day as news that President Obama will nominate Pentagon official Eric Fanning to lead the Army, potentially making him the first openly gay civilian secretary of a military service.
As far as LGBTQ representation in the federal government goes, it’s quite the day. We just never would have expected such a rapid leadership rise within the defense department of all places.