Dr. Rachel Levine Becomes First Transgender Official To Be Confirmed By The Senate

Written by on March 24, 2021

Dr. Rachel Levine made historical past on Wednesday, changing into the primary overtly transgender federal official to be confirmed by the Senate.

In a 52-48 vote, the chamber authorized Levine’s nomination to the function of assistant secretary for well being within the Division of Well being and Human Providers. All Democrats and two Republican senators — Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska — voted to substantiate her. 

In an earlier assertion about Levine’s nomination, President Joe Biden stated the pediatrician and former Pennsylvania secretary of well being could be a boon to the administration’s battle in opposition to the coronavirus.

“Dr. Rachel Levine will convey the regular management and important experience we have to get individuals by means of this pandemic — regardless of their zip code, race, faith, sexual orientation, gender identification, or incapacity — and meet the general public well being wants of our nation on this important second and past,” Biden stated in January.

Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) echoed this sentiment on the Senate flooring Wednesday, telling her colleagues earlier than the vote that Levine could be a great match for the function and acknowledged the “historic” nature of her appointment.  

“I’ve all the time stated the individuals in our authorities ought to replicate the individuals it serves, and right now we’ll take a brand new historic step in direction of making {that a} actuality,” Murray stated, in accordance with NPR. “I’m proud to vote for Dr. Levine and extremely happy with the progress this affirmation will signify, for our nation and for transgender individuals all throughout it who’re watching right now.”

Murray famous that Levine could be the “highest rating overtly transgender official in our authorities.”

Levine’s gender identification was raised throughout her affirmation listening to when Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) erroneously in contrast gender-affirming surgical procedure to “genital mutilation” and questioned Levine as as to whether kids are able to making “such a life-changing resolution as altering one’s intercourse.”

In response, Levine instructed the senator that “transgender drugs is a really advanced and nuanced subject with strong analysis and requirements of care which were developed.”

“If I’m lucky sufficient to be confirmed because the assistant secretary of well being, I’ll sit up for working with you and your workplace and coming to your workplace and discussing the particulars of the requirements of look after transgender drugs,” she stated. 

Transgender activists and allies later referred to as Paul’s remarks “dangerous” and “lethal.”

Levine stated in an announcement to The New York Instances that she was “humbled” by her affirmation and expressed gratitude to the LGBT+ group for its assist. 

“Solely by means of your work and advocacy over many a long time is my story doable,” she stated.

Levine concluded her assertion with a message of encouragement for transgender youth.

“I do know that each day you confront many tough challenges,” she stated. “Sadly, a few of the challenges you face are from individuals who would search to make use of your identification and circumstance as a weapon. It hurts. I do know. I can’t promise you that these assaults will instantly stop, however I’ll do every thing I can to assist you and advocate for you.” 

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