Biden taps openly trans physician Rachel Levine as assistant health secretary: Here’s why it matters

 Biden taps openly trans physician Rachel Levine as assistant health secretary: Here’s why it matters

Given the ongoing pandemic, Levine, a graduate of Harvard and later of Tulane Medical School, truly does seem like a perfect choice for the role. In 2015, she worked as Pennsylvania’s general physician, and from there, moved up to the state’s assistant health secretary in 2017. In 2018, Levine was confirmed as the state’s health secretary. Notably, she was actually confirmed by a Republican-controlled state Senate on three separate occasions. Moreover, Levine, who has written on an array of contemporary topics, ranging from the opioid epidemic to LGBTQ+ health care to medical cannabis, actually takes the coronavirus pandemic seriously.

“It will be essential for the federal government to provide more funding to the states, territories and cities that will be tasked with administering the vaccine,” Levine told NPR in an interview in December, adding that “we all have to work together and stand united to stop the spread of this virus.”

Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf issued a statement saying Levine has been a “wise and dedicated partner during this pandemic and throughout her career with the commonwealth.” He noted he  “couldn’t be prouder” of the work Levine has done to protect public health in Pennsylvania. 

The President-elect described Levine as “a historic and deeply qualified choice to help lead our administration’s health efforts.” Levine’s nomination feels especially meaningful as the Trump administration—and Republicans across the nation—have tried again and again to whittle the rights of transgender folks. Remember: Levine is one of the very, very few openly transgender people to serve in an elected or appointed position in the entire country.

As Daily Kos has covered, we’ve seen a number of exciting victories for transgender and nonbinary folks during the November 2020 election on the local and state level, but for actual proportionate representation for the LGBTQ+ community, we need way more openly queer people in all levels of office. Especially when some Republicans are fixated on punishing and isolating transgender youth and openly transgender adults face disproportionate levels of housing and job discrimination.  

Here is a response from Levine in reference to the transphobia hurled toward her, in which she stresses that insults and hateful comments do not hurt just her, but all LGBTQ folks. 

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