With Joe Biden taking office, the LGBTQ+ community received a wave of positivity after enduring four long years of the Trump administration.
First of all, the Biden administration itself is very diverse and, as far as we are concerned, there is now transport secretary, Pete Buttigieg, who makes history becoming the first openly gay secretary of the United States.
There is also Karine Jean-Pierre, whom I told you about when she was appointed as Chief of Staff to Vice President Kamala Harris, who was recently appointed as Deputy White House Press Secretary. Jean-Pierre is lesbian.
But today, of course, the one we'll be most interested in is Rachel Levine, who becomes the first-ever transgender assistant health secretary.
I couldn't believe it when I heard the news, given the radical change since the new President of the United States took office.
Dr. Rachel Levine is a pediatrician by training and a university professor of pediatrics and psychiatry. She joined the staff at Penn State Hershey Medical Centeris when she moved in Pennsylvanie in 1993 and created an adolescent medicine division and eating disorders clinic.
Rachel Levine is also a member of the board of directors of Equality Pennsylvania, which defends LGBTQ rights.
Governor Tom Wolf and Rachel Levine
In 2017, she was appointed by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf to be the state's health secretary and has worked for an inclusive health care system. She has been confirmed in this position by the Republican Senate every year since her appointment.
Last year, Levine has become the face of the fight against COVID-19 in Pennsylvania.
“It has truly been an honor to serve the people of Pennsylvania under the leadership of Gov. Tom Wolf,” she said in a statement. “He is a tremendous leader with an incredible vision for Pennsylvania, and it has been a highlight of my career to serve in his administration. Since I began state service in 2015, I have been laser focused on building a healthy Pennsylvania for all and I am proud of the work we have done at the Department of Health during my tenure. Our work on addressing the opioid epidemic has saved lives and developed innovative models to get people into treatment and into recovery. I am proud of the work we have done to fight diseases such as HIV and Hepatitis C, as well as preventing diseases through our childhood immunization programs. I am proud of the work we have done as an administration to address health equity, and the work I have done personally to raise awareness about LGBTQ equity issues. And I am extremely proud of the work we have done during the last year to save lives in the face of the COVID-19 global pandemic. I look forward to the opportunity to continue to serve Pennsylvanians, and all Americans, as part of the Biden Administration if I am fortunate enough to be confirmed to this position.”
Governor Wolf said :
“Dr. Levine is a highly skilled and valued member of my administration and she will be greatly missed. She has been a wise and dedicated partner during this pandemic and throughout her career with the commonwealth. I couldn’t be prouder of the tireless work she’s done to serve Pennsylvanians and protect the public health.”
President Joe Biden
In a statement, 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.”
Levine will officiate alongside Xavier Becerra, the new Health and Human Services secretary nominee, and former California Attorney General, Jeff Zients, the coordinator of the COVID-19 task force.