Tag Archives: Amanda Simpson

David Letterman Mocks Amanda Simpson Resulting in Transgender Uproar!

David Letterman

Yesterday we reported (GLAAD) on President Obama’s appointment of Amanda Simpson as a senior technical advisor at the Commerce Department and some of the problematic news coverage about her becoming one of the first openly transgender presidential appointees.

Unfortunately, as coverage of her landmark appointment continues, so does the disrespectful treatment in the media.  During last night’s “Late Show with David Letterman” on CBS, David Letterman announced Simpson’s appointment and reported that she is a transgender woman. He also showed a photo of her.  The show’s announcer Alan Kalter then reacted to the news with disgust and mock horror, saying, “What? Amanda used to be a dude? My God!” He then hurried off stage to hearty laughter from the audience, apparently to go collect himself after the shock of this discovery.

Using this type of reaction to the discovery of a person’s transgender identity for comic effect appears to be a current trend in entertainment media.  We’ve recently criticized similar instances of such defamation on FOX’s “The Cleveland Show.”  Depicting people reacting in horror to transgender individuals is a dangerous stereotype for popular media to perpetuate because it contributes to the societal conception of transgender people as abnormal and deceptive, which all-too-often results in anti-transgender violence and/or discrimination when played out in reality.

We are reaching out to CBS “Late Show with David Letterman” with our concerns about this transphobic joke.  Please send your concerns to CBS at: http://www.cbs.com/info/user_services/fb_global_form.php

By: Anna Wipfler, GLAAD’s Transgender Advocacy Fellow

Original post: Click here


TQ Nation’s thoughts:

In a forum post today on TQ Nation, one citizen posted this:

“Anyone see the Late night show the other night?
He (David Letterman) really did a disgusting skit about Amanda Simpson, appointee to Commerce Department.
I think that we, as a community, need to tell CBS that Mr Letterman needs to apologize for that skit.
These kinds of attitudes are the ones that get trans folk killed, IMO.”

Tristan Skye SPEAKS:

We as a community cannot laugh this off like we have done in the past. In a way, it shows us that the only way society “accepts” us is by mocking us…making fun of WHO WE ARE.

Amanda Simpson should be honored for her amazing credibility and noted for her success, not made fun of. Of course, this is what David Letterman does best and has made fun of everyone in the history of time, it seems. I realize it’s a major facet of his show and fame.

Still, it’s worse to me to target and mock a minority that many people in society fail to understand. It’s makes their ignorance remain that way and tells them, “it’s okay to laugh at them!”

I will note that I give major kudos to President Obama for appointing Amanda Simpson and helping to pave the way for our transgender community. I hope this will help shed light of equal opportunity in the workplace for transgender individuals everywhere…and that it will be included in ENDA.

I guess they can laugh all they want to, but we ARE making progress!

Here’s to a BRIGHT 2010!


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Transgender Woman Appointed to Department of Commerce

Amanda Simpson, who has served on NCTE’s Board of Directors for the past 3 years, has been appointed by the Obama Administration as a Senior Technical Advisor to the Department of Commerce. She’ll be working in the Bureau of Industry and Security.

“I’m truly honored to have received this appointment and am eager and excited about this opportunity that is before me. And at the same time, 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 brings considerable professional credentials to her new job. For thirty years, she has worked in the aerospace and defense industry, most recently serving as Deputy Director in Advanced Technology Development at Raytheon Missile Systems in Tucson, Arizona. 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.

She has also been very active in political and community groups. She has served on the Board of Directors of two national organizations: Out & Equal and NCTE. In Arizona, she has been on the board of Wingspan, the Southern Arizona Gender Alliance, the Southern Arizona ACLU and the Arizona Human Rights Fund (now Equality Arizona).

In 2004, the YWCA recognized her as one of their “Women on the Move,” and in the same year, she won the Democratic nomination to the Arizona House of Representatives. In 2005, she was given the Arizona Human Rights Foundation Individual Award.

We are delighted to welcome Amanda to Washington, DC and share her hope that she will be joined by many other transgender people and our allies in serving our government.

Original post: Click here

About NCTE

The National Center for Transgender Equality is a national social justice organization devoted to ending discrimination and violence against transgender people through education and advocacy on national issues of importance to transgender people. By empowering transgender people and our allies to educate and influence policymakers and others, NCTE facilitates a strong and clear voice for transgender equality in our nation’s capital and around the country. The National Center for Transgender Equality is a 501(c)3 organization.

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