First, Levine made a moving promise to the LGBTQ community. In a statement to The New York TimesLevin wrote in part: “I recognize that I can be the first, but I am comforted by the knowledge that I will not be the last. When I assume this position, I will be standing on the shoulders of those who have come before – people we know throughout history and those whose names we will never know because they were forced to live and live. work in the shadows.
Referring to the discrimination and assault transgender youth face in particular, Levine wrote in his statement, “I can’t promise you that these attacks will stop immediately, but I will do all I can to support and defend you.
But some have used Levine’s historic breakthrough as an opportunity to spew anti-trans hysteria. As the Daily Kos explained at the time, at a Senate Health, Education, Work and Pensions Committee hearing in February, Republican Senator Rand Paul declaimed about “genital mutilation” under the pretext of talking about gender-affirming health care for people under the age of 18. Levine graciously and calmly closed his transphobic discussions with a response that quickly went viral.
“Transgender medicine is a very complex and nuanced field with solid research and standards of care that have been developed,” Levine replied to Paul at the time. “If I am fortunate enough to be confirmed as Assistant Secretary of Health, I will be looking forward to working with you and your office and coming to your office and discussing the details of the standards of care for transgender medicine.” Smooth, smart, and completely non-inflammatory, unlike Paul’s long attack.
Sadly, but unsurprisingly, Paul is far from the first person to attack the doctor because she is blatantly transgender. There are many reports disturbing insults and slurs that Levine faced while serving the people of Pennslyvania in her previous role, for example.
Levine spoke about the transphobia she has experienced in the past. “While these people may think that they are only expressing their displeasure with me, they are actually hurting the thousands of LGBTQ people in Pennsylvanians who are directly suffering from these current manifestations of harassment,” she said during the interview. ‘a press conference last year. “Your actions perpetuate the spirit of intolerance and discrimination against LGBTQ people and in particular transgender people.”
Levine went on to speak about the lack of protection from discrimination in the workplace and in housing for LGBTQ people, and in particular LGBTQ youth, older people and people of color. And, as Daily Kos continues to cover, we know that right now there are a slew of anti-trans bills pending across the country, centered on excluding female sports transgender girls trying to make one crime doctors to provide gender-affirming care to young people, which makes it almost impossible to update the sex on their birth certificate.
“We only made progress if we all made progress,” Levine said. While this particular statement dates from 2020, it’s worth looking at in full.