comScore Dr. Rachel Levine to Highest Ranking Transgender Official Ever | The Mary Sue

Biden Asst. Health Secretary Nominee Dr. Rachel Levine to Be Highest-Ranking Transgender Official Ever

We're looking forward to officials with actual qualifications!

Dr. Rachel Levine selected as first openly transgender doctor as assistant health secretary.

President-elect Joe Biden is making history by nominating Dr. Rachel Levine, a Pennsylvania health expert, to be assistant for health in the department of Health and Human Services. This move is the beginning of a historic moment for the transgender community, as Levine would be the first openly transgender official to win a Senate confirmation—the highest ranking transgender official ever.

As expected, the worst corners of the internet went ham on this decision and started calling for an official who knows what they’re doing instead of picking someone because of “political correctness” or because they’re “checking off a box.” Well, I’ve got some news for you, transphobes of the internet: Unlike Trump cronies Betsy Devos and Ben Carson, Dr. Levine knows what she’s doing.

Dr. Levine is currently the secretary of health in Pennsylvania, a position she’s been confirmed for three times by the Republican state legislature. In her role, she is leading the state in its fight against COVID-19 and is very vocal about effective vaccine programs to stop the rapid spread of the coronavirus. Not only that, but Dr. Levine is also a professor at the Penn State College of Medicine and has a background as a pediatrician at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York.

Still not convinced that she’s the person perfect for this position? Dr. Levine is also a graduate of Harvard College and the Tulane University School of Medicine. Her expertise over the years ranges from the opioid crisis, medical marijuana, adolescent medicine, eating disorder, and LGBT medicine, according to her bio.

Dr. Levine’s previous posts include Vice-Chair for Clinical Affairs for the Department of Pediatrics and Chief of the Division of Adolescent Medicine and Eating Disorders at the Penn State Hershey Medical Center. And she is President of ASTHO, the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials.

In an official statement, President-elect Joe Biden said, “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. She is a historic and deeply qualified choice to help lead our administration’s health efforts.”

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris followed that by saying, “Dr. Rachel Levine is 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. President-elect Biden and I look forward to working with her to meet the unprecedented challenges facing Americans and rebuild our country in a way that lifts everyone up.”

Dr. Rachel Levine is the perfect choice for assistant health secretary. She has the background, the education, and the drive to provide care for all sorts of Americans, no matter their race, gender, or sexual orientation or identity. And that’s something we should all be celebrating, no matter where you fall when it comes to politics.

(image: Biden transition team)

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Lyra (She/Her) is a queer Latinx writer who stans badass women in movies, TV shows, and books. She loves crafting, tostones, and speculating all over queer media. And when not writing she's scrolling through TikTok or rebuilding her book collection.