Rachel Levine: America’s First Openly Transgender Federal Official to Win Senate Confirmation

David Crary, reporting last week for The Philadelphia Inquirer:

Voting mostly along party lines, the U.S. Senate has confirmed former Pennsylvania Health Secretary Rachel Levine to be the nation’s assistant secretary of health. She is the first openly transgender federal official to win Senate confirmation.

The final vote Wednesday was 52-48. Republican Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine joined all Democrats in supporting Levine.

Levine had been serving as Pennsylvania’s top health official since 2017, and emerged as the public face of the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. She is expected to oversee Health and Human Services offices and programs across the U.S.

It takes courage and a thick skin to be a trailblazer like Levine. She’s more than qualified for this position — the votes against her are as shameful as they are transparent. I’m so proud that she’s from Pennsylvania.

President Biden, today:

Today, we honor and celebrate the achievements and resiliency of transgender individuals and communities. Transgender Day of Visibility recognizes the generations of struggle, activism, and courage that have brought our country closer to full equality for transgender and gender non-binary people in the United States and around the world. Their trailblazing work has given countless transgender individuals the bravery to live openly and authentically. This hard-fought progress is also shaping an increasingly accepting world in which peers at school, teammates and coaches on the playing field, colleagues at work, and allies in every corner of society are standing in support and solidarity with the transgender community.

Living openly and authentically shouldn’t require bravery. Today it does; someday, it won’t.

Wednesday, 31 March 2021