Saturday, January 2, 2010

Obama makes good on a pledge

President Barack Obama made good on a campaign pledge to be inclusive of transgendered people in his administration by naming Amanda Simpson as Senior Technical Advisor to the Department of Commerce.  According to, Ms. Simpson "has worked in the aerospace and defense industry, most recently serving as Deputy Director in Advanced Technology Development at Raytheon Missile Systems in Tucson, Ariz. 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."

With all that experience in her professional field, I wonder why the Washington Post decided to call Ms. Simpson "a transgender politcial activist" in the headline of the story of her appointment?  And come to think of it, why does the right wing media refer to many people who are different from them as "activists"?  I've yet to hear anyone call Rush Limbaugh a Right Wing Activist.  I've already written about the use of the word "czar" that the right wing uses to describe people in the Obama administration.  Here's another word that seems to be used only to refer to folks left of center: activists.  (Not that the word is necessarily negative.  I just wonder why we are letting the right wing make it so.)  I rarely see the term "anti-gay marriage activist," but often see "gay marriage activist." I do, however, see conservatives referred to as "advocates," as in "an advocate for traditional marriage."  It's a less threatening term.  Something to think about.

For now, however, congrats to Amanda Simpson, whose first name, in Latin, means "she who must be loved." And it's good to have a reminder that we are not in the Bush years anymore, despite LGBT criticism (mine included) of President Obama.  But as he told us when he addressed the Human Rights Campaign last year, we have to keep up the pressure on him and his administration.

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