White House silent on Obama transgender 'appointee'---Test pilot had 6 surgeries at cost of $70,000 to switch from male to female (Pics)

By Chelsea Schilling and Kathleen Farah© 2010 WorldNetDaily

According to various media reports, President Obama has hired a transgender woman as a senior adviser at the Commerce Department – but the White House is refusing to confirm the appointment.

Mitchell Simpson, now known as "Amanda" following a sex change, is said to have been appointed senior technical adviser at the Commerce Department. He purportedly began work today.

The Commerce website now lists an "Amanda Simpson" in its directory along with a Bureau of Industry and Security e-mail address. The directory does not list a phone number for "Amanda."

The Obama administration has not officially announced the appointment, and neither the White House nor Simpson responded to WND's calls and e-mail messages requesting confirmation of the appointment.

But in a statement reported by the New York Daily News, Simpson said, "As one of the first transgender presidential appointees to the federal government, I hope that I will soon be one of hundreds."

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Simpson, 49, is a former test pilot who made the gender switch 10 years ago while working in Tucson, Ariz., for Raytheon Missile Systems, a major Department of Defense contractor where he became deputy director. According to the Arizona Daily Star, Simpson underwent six surgeries at a cost of $70,000 to make the transition from male to female. He had his Adam's apple removed, breasts added, forehead ground down and genital surgery.

Simpson became the first openly transgendered candidate to win a primary election in the U.S. in a 2004 bid for the Arizona state legislature, the New York Daily News reports. He lost the general election. He's not the first high-profile transgender appointment in Washington, D.C. In 2008, Diego Sanchez was named chairman of the House Financial Services Committee by Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass.