Dr. Rachel Levine Becomes First Openly Transgender Official Confirmed By The Senate
Dr. Levine, a pediatrician and former health secretary in Pennsylvania, vowed to “promote policies that advance the health and well-being of all Americans” and to fight transgender youth.
In a statement, Dr. Levine said she was “humbled” by the Senate’s approval and thanked the LGBTQ community for its support.
“As Vice President Harris has said, I recognize that I may be the first, but am heartened by the knowledge that I will not be the last,” she wrote. “When I assume this position, I will stand on the shoulders of those who came before, people we know throughout history and those whose names we will never know because they were forced to live and work in the shadows.”
Dr. Levine also addressed transgender youth in the statement.
“I know that each and every day you confront many difficult challenges,” she wrote. “Sadly, some of the challenges you face are from people who would seek to use your identity and circumstance as a weapon. It hurts. I know. I cannot promise you that these attacks will immediately cease, but I will do everything I can to support you and advocate for you.”
During Dr. Levine’s confirmation hearing before the Senate Health Committee, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) spoke negatively about her nomination, linking sex reassignment surgery to “genital mutilation” and demanding to know where the supported such procedure for minors.
She responded that transgender medicine is “a very complex and nuanced field with robust research and standards of care.”
Advocates for the LGBTQ community were excited about Levine’s confirmation.
“At a time when hateful politicians are weaponizing trans lives for their own perceived political gain, Dr. Levine’s confirmation lends focus to the contributions trans people make to our nation and deflates absurd arguments calling for their exclusion,” said Annise Parker, a former mayor of Houston who now runs the LGBTQ Victory Institute, which trains LGBTQ people to run for public office.