Voting largely by party affiliation, the US Senate has confirmed that former Pennsylvania Health Minister Rachel Levine will be the country’s assistant secretary of health. He is the first openly transgender federal official to win Senate approval.
The final vote on Wednesday was 52-48. Alaska Republican senators Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins of Maine joined all Democrats in supporting Lynn.
Levine, who has served as Pennsylvania’s chief health officer since 2017, has emerged as a public figure in the state’s response to the coronavirus epidemic. He is expected to oversee health և human services և programs ԱՄՆ in the United States
President Biden cited Levine’s experience when he nominated him in January.
“Levine will bring the sustainable leadership, the experience we need to give people through this epidemic, regardless of their zip code, race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability,” Biden said.
Transgender human rights activists hail Levin’s appointment as a historic step forward. Few trans people have ever held high-level positions at the federal or state level.
However, the approval vote came at a difficult time for the transgender movement, as US lawmakers, primarily Republican-controlled, are considering an unprecedented wave of bills aimed at trans youth.
A bill introduced in at least 25 states would ban trans girls and young women from participating in women’s school sports.
One such measure has already been signed by Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves; similar measures have been sent to the governors of Tennessee, Arkansas and South Dakota.
Another version of the bill, introduced in at least 17 states, aims to outlaw or restrict certain types of medical care for transgender youth. None of these measures have been finalized yet.
Transgender rights issues are also a major factor in the republic’s opposition to the proposed Equality Act, which will extend federal civil rights protection to LGBTQ people in the United States. The bill is passed by the Democratic-led House, but it will probably take some AP votes to dominate the Senate.
Houston former mayor and chairman of the LGBTQ Victory Institute, Yenisei Parker, hinted at the developments and welcomed the Senate vote on Levine.
“At a time when hated politicians are transmitting weapons for their own political gain, Dr. Levine’s endorsement is making the investment that trans people make in our nation,” said Parker, whose organization recruits and supports LGBTQ political candidates.
Senator Rand Paul, who voted “No”, stood with Levon during his affirmative hearing on Feb. 25 on medical treatment for transgender youth – including hormone therapy and blocking puberty.
“Do you believe that minors are capable of making life-changing decisions such as changing one’s gender?” Paul asked.
Levine responded that transgender medicine was “a very complex, elegant field that has solid research and standards of care,” and said he would welcome discussions with him.
In the past, Levine argued that hormone therapy, or drugs that block puberty, could be a valuable medical tool to protect transgender youth from mental illness and the risk of possible suicide.
The affirmative vote was challenged by the Conservative Family Research Council, which argued that Levine, in addition to his stance on transgender medical care, had supported “a number of anti-abortion and anti-religious freedom proposals” while serving as Pennsylvania’s health secretary.
“Levine could be the most extreme radical ever approved by the Senate,” said Tracey Weber, the council’s vice president for policy and government.
Former Pennsylvania pediatrician Levin was appointed Secretary of Health of Pennsylvania by Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf in 2017. He was approved by the Republican majority in the Pennsylvania Senate.
However, Pennsylvania Republican Sen. Pat Tumy voted against Levine on Wednesday.
“The epidemic in Pennsylvania has hit homeless people disproportionately hard compared to other states,” Tumi said. “It was partly due to Dr. Levine վատ’s bad decisions և overseen by the Wolf administration.”
He said the extensive closure advocated by Levine was “inherently arbitrary and led to a slower recovery.”
A graduate of Harvard և Tulan Medical School, Levin is president of the Association of Public Health Officers. He has previously written about opioid crisis, medical marijuana, adolescent medicine, eating disorders, and LGBTQ drugs.
The praise for his achievements վար dealing with the epidemic coincided with the steady flow of vitriol against him on social media.
According to the Associated Press on Tuesday, Levine was one of the targets of a private group on Facebook called the Pittsburgh Area Police Breakroom, which included many present and retired police officers.
Dozens of members of the group were promoting transphobic posts about Levin for several days to stop the spread of COVID-19 for his role in the country’s far-reaching social mandates.
“Someone has to shoot this thing.” wrote a retired officer.
In January, a Pennsylvania lawmaker posted a picture of Levin mocking his appearance on Facebook, then offered a general apology.
State Representative Jeff Pyle, a Republican, said on Facebook that he had “no idea” that Levin’s mocking post “would be perceived as badly as it was” but that “tens of thousands of hot emails assured me that it was.”