WASHINGTON, D.C. – Dr. Rachel Levine was confirmed by a Senate vote Wednesday as the Biden Administration’s assistant secretary for health for the Department of Health and Human Services, making this the first time an openly transgendered person has been confirmed by the Senate for a federal post.
Dr. Levine is a professor of pediatrics and psychiatry at the Penn State College of Medicine, and the former Pennsylvania Physician General and former Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, and was largely responsible for orchestrating the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, a topic that some Republicans were critical of during her confirmation hearing.
During the hearings earlier this month, eyebrows were raised when she and Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) essentially butted heads during questioning on transgender-related issues.
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Paul drew criticism for alleged “transphobic” terminology he used such as comparing sex reassignment surgery to “genital mutilation,” and Dr. Levine repeatedly avoided answering any of the Senator’s questions about transition-related care for transgendered children, including whether she believed that minors are capable of making the life-changing decision of changing their sex.
In the past, Dr. Levine has publically expressed support of transgender children and has even tweeted an article that claims that puberty-blockers can be “life-saving” drugs for trans youth with mental health problems.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) referred to Dr. Levine’s successful confirmation as a significant “milestone” for members of the LGBTQ community.
“The Biden administration has brought many historic firsts into its ranks,” he said. “The confirmation of Rachel Levine represents another important milestone for the American LGBTQ community. She will be the first openly transgender official ever confirmed by the United States Senate. The arc of history is long, but it keeps bending in the direction of justice.”