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Dr. Rachel Levine Becomes First Openly Transgender Person Confirmed by Senate

todayMarch 25, 2021 1

Background
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Dr. Rachel Levine will serve as assistant secretary of health in the Department of Health and Human Services.

What We Know:

  • On Wednesday, the U.S. Senate elected Levine in a 52-48 vote. Politicians from both parties voted in Levine’s favor. Important voters included Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Ak) and Sen. Susan Collins (R-Me).
  • The election comes at a difficult time for the transgender-rights movement. Recently, legislatures across the country, the majority of which are under Republican control, are attempting to pass bills discriminating against transgender youths. One proposal introduced in around 25 states will ban trans girls from being on their school’s female sports teams. Another bill presented in 17 states wants to restrict or illegalize certain medical care for transgender youths. According to Bloomberg.com, these measures are yet to be approved.
  • Democratic politicians urged the Senate to vote for Levine. For example, President Joe Biden was an adamant supporter of Levine. In a January statement, Biden said Levine would bring poised leadership and expertise needed to help people overcome the pandemic. Prior to voting, Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) asked her colleagues that Levine was a  “trusted voice” on matters such as opioid prescription guidelines, health equity, and LGBTQ healthcare.

“I’m proud to vote for Dr. Levine and incredibly proud of the progress this confirmation will represent, for our country and for transgender people all across it who are watching today,” said Murray.

  • During last month’s confirmation hearing for Levine, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) asked antagonistic questions. He demanded to know if Levine thought minors could make a life-changing decision such as switching genders. NPR states that Paul also compared sex reassignment operations to genital mutilation.
  • Rand also inquired about her stance on hormone treatment and puberty blockers. Levine responded courteously, stating that transgender medicine is a “very complex and nuanced field” with sufficient research and care standards. She also said she was willing to have conversations about the topic with Paul.
  • The conservative Family Research Council opposed her election. They stated that in addition to her beliefs on transgender medical care, she supported pro-abortion and anti-religious freedom measures as Pennsylvania’s health secretary. Family Research Council Vice President Travis Weber said that Levine might be ” the most extreme radical ever confirmed by the Senate.”

Alongside serving as Pennsylvania’s health secretary, Levine is president of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials. She has written pieces about the opioid crisis, medicinal marijuana, adolescent medicine, eating disorders, and LGBTQ medicine. She told the Washington Post in 2016 she intends to be remembered for her work, not her gender.

The post Dr. Rachel Levine Becomes First Openly Transgender Person Confirmed by Senate appeared first on Black News Alerts.

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