Update: In my cut-and-paste of the press release for Lynn Conway’s presidential appointment, I didn’t copy the entire contents of the press release. I updated the post to add more information about Lynn Conway’s appointment.


Update 2: I made a media request of the Department of Labor, and recevied additional information on Dylan Orr’s appointment, his offical CV, and his official photograph.

So, I’m adding these to this diary, and bumping the diary back to the top. (Original posting: Sat Jan 09, 2010 at 04:00:00 AM PST)


A tip of my beret goes to Lisa Keen, writing for Pride Source. Pride Source: Obama makes first trans appointmentsThrough her, we now know who the first trans person that the Obama Administration appointed was, and it wasn’t Amanda Simpson. That honor goes to Dylan Orr, a trans man.

From the Pride Source‘s Obama makes first trans appointments:

Amanda Simpson starts work this week as one of the first presidentially appointed transgender persons to the executive branch of any administration. The honor as the first belongs to Dylan Orr, a 30-year-old law school graduate from Seattle.

The Obama administration appointed both Simpson and Orr in late November. Orr began work on Dec. 7 as special assistant to assistant secretary of labor Kathleen Martinez in the Office of Disability Employment Policy at the Department of Labor. Simpson, 49, began work on Dec. 29 as Senior Technical Advisor in the Bureau of Industry and Security. The Bureau’s mission is to protect national security through the management of international trade, the enforcement of treaties, and the promotion of economic, cyber and homeland security.

Orr, a native of Seattle, graduated from the University of Washington School of Law in July and was admitted to the bar in November. During law school, his studies focused on disability rights, civil rights and employment and immigration issues. He served as president of the law school’s GLBT student organization. He did his undergraduate work at Smith College in Massachusetts, and also worked for a time with the Department of Social Services in Salem, Massachusetts…

My personal congratulations to Dylan Orr — May your time in public service be fulfilling and historic.

That said, although Dylan Orr does appear to be the first trans man ever appointed by a presidential administration, he doesn’t appear to be the first trans person ever appointed to a presidential administration. Zoe Brain (of A.E.Brain) has informed us that the Obama Administration wasn’t the very first presidential administration to appoint a known trans person to office.

Zoe Brain has pointed out in a quite a few places on the web that the honor of being the first actually goes to Lynn Conway. From the Clinton Administration media release entitled President Clinton Names Lynn Conway to the Air Force Academy Board of Visitors:


Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release January 31, 1996

President Clinton Names Lynn Conway to the Air Force Academy Board of Visitors

President Clinton announced today his intent to appoint Lynn Conway of Michigan, to the U.S. Air Force Academy Board of Visitors.

Conway is professor of electrical engineering and computer science at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Professor Conway is widely known as a pioneer in microelectronics and as co-author of the classic text on very large scale integrated (VLSI) chip design.

During the early 1980’s she also led the Defense Department’s Strategic Computing Initiative, a major research program that developed intelligent weapons technology. In 1989, she was elected to the National Academy of Engineering. Conway is also director of a major visual communications demonstration project at the University of Michigan.

Conway, who was born in Mt. Vernon, N.Y., earned a B.S. and an M.S.E.E. from the School of Engineering and Applied Science at Columbia University.

The Air Force Academy Board of Visitors visits the Air Force Academy annually and provides the President and the Air Force with consultations and advice concerning overall activities of the Academy.

So, now we have some history and perspective on trans appointments: Lynn Conway was the first known trans person — either trans man or trans woman — to be appointed by a presidential administration. (If I’m not mistaken, Prof. Conway’s appointment was a direct appointment by President Clinton, so was it would have more than just a presidential administration’s appointment — it would have been a Presidential appointment.)  Dylan Orr is the first known trans man appointed by a presidential administration — as well as the first trans person appointed to the Obama Administration. And, Amanda Simpson is the trans woman (and trans person!) who was appointed to the highest level position in any presidential administration.

This a trailblazing age for trans people, and for trans civil rights as well; we are seeing quite historic moments in the history of trans people (and of trans community) unfold before our eyes.

For me, it seems an incredibly inspiring time to be a member of trans community — what a time in history to be alive!

Photograph: Department Of Labor Official Photograph of Dylan Orr, Special Assistant to Assistant Secretary Kathy Martinez at the Department of Labor Office of Disability Employment PolicyDylan Orr:

&#149 Official Title: Assistant to Assistant Secretary Kathy Martinez at the Department of Labor Office of Disability Employment Policy

&#149 Official Background and CV: Dylan is a newly minted attorney from Washington State. He received his JD from the University of Washington School of Law in 2009. His legal and policy work has focused on the areas of civil rights, disability, employment, and immigration, including work at Disability Rights Washington, the Washington protection and advocacy organization, and MacDonald Hoague and Bayless, a civil rights law firm in Seattle. He also worked previously at and environmental conservation organization (the Conservation Law Foundation) and as child protective social worker in Massachusetts. A student leader at law school, Dylan helped form a disability-focused student group and a diversity committee, served as the president of the LGBT student group, and as class representative for his graduating class. He graduated from Smith College in 2001, and from Garfield High School in Seattle Washington in 1997.

Autumn Sandeen

Autumn Sandeen