January 06, 2010, New York, NY – On Tuesday, after Amanda Simpson became the first transgender presidential appointee by being named Senior Technical Advisor to the Department of Commerce by President Obama, talk show host David Letterman announced Simpson’s appointment on his show and aired 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 hurried off stage to laughter from the audience, apparently to go collect himself after the shock of this discovery.
“Amanda Simpson and transgender people want the same things all Americans do: to earn a living and be recognized for their contributions to society,” said Jarrett Barrios, President of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD). “Instead of using humor to raise awareness about the lives of transgender people, the show ridiculed the first transgender Presidential appointee and one of the most vulnerable minorities in this country. By promoting unfair and cruel reactions to transgender people, the David Letterman Show is feeding an epidemic of discrimination and violence that currently faces transgender Americans.”
GLAAD urged community members to contact CBS with concerns on the anti-transgender segment at glaadBLOG and has reached out to producers at the David Letterman Show.