HHS’s Rachel Levine: Transgender identity ‘doesn’t have to define who I am’
Rachel Levine, the first openly trans person to hold an office that requires Senate confirmation, says she doesn’t want her gender identity to define her.
“Hopefully, eventually, I won’t have to be known as the transgender United States assistant secretary for Health — that it doesn’t have to define who I am,” Levine, who continues to be misgendered by conservative officials and groups, said on the most recent episode of the podcast “In Fact with Chelsea Clinton.” “I think that’s going to take time as we continue to work on diversity, equity and inclusion.”
Levine serves as the head of the Public Health Service Commissioned Corps. President Biden nominated her after she served more than three years as Pennsylvania’s top health official, and she was confirmed in a 52-to-48 vote last March.
Levine told Clinton in the new interview that she wants her work to be the focus.
“I’m just really busy on public health — so whether it is COVID-19, whether it is mental health and overdoses, whether it is health equity, climate change, the Title X program we talked about, ending the HIV epidemic, nutrition programs, the blood supply,” she said.
Twitter recently suspended right-leaning parody site Babylon Bee after a tweet misgendered Levine. It called her the “Man of the Year” after USA Today named her one of its “Women of the Year.” Twitter also flagged another tweet misgendering Levine from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R), who has referred to gender-affirming care for transgender kids as child abuse.
“I stand on the shoulders of many LGBTQIA+ individuals, trans individuals, who came before me, some of whom are known and some of whom are not known and had to live and work in the darkness. So what I want to do is hope that my appointment into these positions is the first of many to come as we create a more diverse future, a more inclusive future,” Levine said.
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