Senate Confirms Rachel Levine as Assistant Secretary of Health, the First Openly Transgender Nominee

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The U.S. Senate confirmed former Pennsylvania Health Secretary Rachel Levine Wednesday in a vote of 52-48.

Levine is the first openly transgender to become the assistant secretary of health at the Department of Health and Human Services, and the first transgender federal official to be confirmed by the Senate. The Republican-majority Pennsylvania Senate confirmed Levine, who was appointed as Pennsylvania’s health secretary in 2018 under Tom Wolf.

“The confirmation of Rachel Levine represents another important milestone for the American LGBTQ community,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said. “As transgender Americans suffer higher rates of abuse, homelessness and depression than almost every other group, it’s important to have national figures like Dr. Levine who by virtue of being in the public spotlight will help break down barriers of ignorance and fear.”

Last month Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) grilled Levine on whether transgender youths can make life-altering medical decisions as changing one’s sex.

Levine said it was a “complex and nuanced field” and offered to discuss concerns later. 

Family Research Council (FRC) said Levine may be the most extreme radical ever confirmed by the Senate. Travis Weber, FRC’s Vice President for Policy and Government Affairs said Levine refused to answer when Senator Rand Paul asked directly whether transgender hormones or surgery for minors met the international definition of abuse.

“Like embattled New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, Levine also forced Covid-19 patients out of hospitals and into nursing homes, and defended the action in the face of criticism even as his own mother was quietly removed from a nursing home. And he has pushed a variety of pro-abortion and anti-religious freedom proposals.”

President Joe Biden said in a January statement that Levine will bring essential expertise needed to help people through the pandemic.

“No matter their zip code, race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability — and meet the public health needs of our country in this critical moment and beyond. She is a historic and deeply qualified choice to help lead our administration’s health efforts.”

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—By CNJ Staff 

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