Trans Folks "Among Us"
- Saturday, January 9, 2010
-us.html> Trans Folks "Among Us"
From The Rev. Dr. Cameron Partridge
About a week ago I picked up a voicemail from my mom: "Sweetheart, I was
wondering if you've heard about Amanda Simpson, the transgender woman who
was appointed by President Obama this week?" I had indeed heard about
Simpson whose appointment as Senior Technical Adviser for the Commerce
Department's Bureau of Industry and Security rightly has been hailed as a
milestone in the push toward full equality for trans people.
Then on Tuesday, January 5th, the New York Times
<http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/06/us/06gender.html> reported that the Obama
administration had "inserted language into the federal jobs Web site
explicitly banning employment discrimination based on gender identity." This
move was hailed by the ACLU as "frankly a bigger deal" than the expected
insertion of trans inclusive language into the federal handbook for
supervisors and managers.
As we move into the season of Epiphany, my question is: what do these
developments and the debates swirling around them, reveal about the place
and progress of trans folks "among us"? Because if Epiphany - from the Greek
epiphaneia, meaning manifestation or revelation - is a celebration of the
light of Emmanuel, God-among-us, then part of this celebration requires our
search for how God is revealing Godself among us and prodding us to move
Of her own appointment Simpson stated, "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
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