US President Barack Obama has appointed a trans woman to the role of senior technical advisor to the Department of Commerce.

Amanda Simpson is on the board of directors of the National Centre for Transgender Equality and has worked in the aerospace and defence industry for 30 years.

In a statement, she said: “I’m truly honoured 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 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.