Dr. Rachel Levine Confirmation Historic Moment in US History; Dr. Levine was Confirmed by the U.S. Senate to be U.S. Asst. Secretary for Health; Is the Highest-Ranking Out Transgender Person to Ever Serve in the Federal Government
WASHINGTON—Today LGBTQ Victory Institute — the only national organization dedicated to creating a pipeline of LGBTQ public leaders — applauded the historic confirmation of Dr. Rachel Levine to be the U.S. Assistant Secretary for Health. Dr. Levine is now the first out transgender appointee ever confirmed by the U.S Senate and the highest-ranking out trans person to ever serve in the federal government.
On January 19, Biden picked the pediatrician as assistant health secretary of the U.S. Levine could become the first openly transgender federal official to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.
The Senate vote was 52-48. “GOP Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska joined all Democrats in voting yes,” reported CNN.
Dr. Levine was the current Secretary of Health for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, as well as the president of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO). She previously served as Physician General for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
She was the subject of anti-trans sentiment and rhetoric in both Chambers of Congress, by Rep. Jeff Pyle mocked Dr. Levine via a FB post. In the Senate, GOP Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.) started his line of questioning to her by talking about “genital mutilation.” Paul was highly criticized by many organizations and members of Congress for his words and actions.
Praise on her appointment
“President Biden committed to appointing our nation’s most qualified leaders to tackle the pandemic and he delivered in choosing Dr. Levine. Yet the importance of this moment extends well beyond the health of our nation alone,” said Mayor Annise Parker, President & CEO of LGBTQ Victory Institute, of her 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. Her experience leading the health department in Pennsylvania will serve our country well and her unique perspective regarding healthcare for trans people will be invaluable.”
Ruben Gonzales, Executive Director of LGBTQ Victory Institute, spoke to the divisiveness some senators brought to the confirmation:
“Dr. Levine’s confirmation is an exciting, profound moment in our nation’s history and will be viewed as a milestone in our community’s march toward equality. While a bipartisan majority of senators voted with the best interests of our country in mind, a minority prioritized anti-trans hate over an honest review of Dr. Levine’s qualifications. Their vote to ride the extremist political winds of the moment will be judged in time, because history never looks fondly on those who vote on the side of bigotry.”
Victory Institute’s Presidential Appointments Initiative, which includes a coalition of more than 30 LGBTQ and allied organizations, was outspoken in urging the Biden administration to nominate Dr. Levine for a Senate-confirmed position because of her qualifications. The Initiative will put forward hundreds of exemplary LGBTQ candidates for positions throughout the administration and advocate for their consideration. It aims to help the Biden-Harris team create the most LGBTQ-inclusive administration in U.S. history.
LGBTQ Victory Institute works to achieve and sustain global equality through leadership development, training and convening to increase the number, expand the diversity, and ensure the success of openly LGBTQ elected and appointed officials at all levels of government.
[From A News Release & Excerpts From Other Reports]