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President-Elect Joe Biden nominates transgender doctor, Rachel Levine as Assistant Health Secretary

RE=euters/Daniel Shanken - Gaye Magazine Edit

The 2020 election has been and continues to be such a historic and memorable experience for many across the nation.With us being just a day shy of Inauguration, history has been made again, as President- Elect Joe Biden has nominated a transgender doctor, Rachel Levine, as his assistant health secretary.

This is a monumental win for the LGBT community. Rachel Levine is one of Pennsylvania’s top health officials and would become the first openly transgender federal official to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

“Dr. Rachel Levine will bring the steady leadership and essential expertise we need to get people through this 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,” Biden said in a statement. “She is a historic and deeply qualified choice to help lead our administration’s health efforts.”

Levine began her medical career as a pediatrician at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York. She is currently the secretary of health in Pennsylvania, where she leads the state's fight against COVID-19. She is also professor at the Penn State College of Medicine. In an interview with NPR last month, Levine stated that the federal government must help states conduct effective vaccine programs to clamp down on the rapid spread of the coronavirus.

"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 said.

She added later, "I think that it really shows that we all have to work together and stand united to stop the spread of this virus."

Despite repeated attacks on her gender identity, Levine continues to be a prominent leader in her community. As she continued to gain notoriety during the pandemic; with regular updates on how Covid-19 is affecting Pennsylvania, she also became a victim of backlash and transphobia.

“I want to emphasize that while these individuals may think they are only expressing their displeasure with me, they are in fact hurting the thousands of LGBTQ Pennsylvanians who suffer directly from these current demonstrations of harassment,” Levine said during the briefing.

“Your actions perpetuate a spirit of intolerance and discrimination against LGBTQ individuals and specifically transgender individuals.” Vice President-elect Kamala Harris called Levine “a remarkable public servant with the knowledge and experience to help us contain this pandemic, and protect and improve the health and well-being of the American people.”


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