America’s First Transgender Federal Offical, Rachel Levine, was confirmed by the US Senate in a historical vote of 52-48, which brings the Biden / Harris administration another step closer to fulfilling their list of commitments to protect the rights of their LGBTQI constituents.
Rachel Levine, the new Assistant Health Secretary, is a paediatrician, who from 2017 until this promotion, was the Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Health and is only one of a few openly transgender government officials in the United States, transitioning in 2011 and will be the highest ranking transgender government official in America.
‘I Will Not Be The Last’
“As Vice President Harris has said, I recognize that I may be the first, but am heartened by the knowledge that I will not be the last,” she wrote. “When I assume this position, I will stand on the shoulders of those who came before — people we know throughout history and those whose names we will never know because they were forced to live and work in the shadows,” Levine said in a statement shared with The New York Times,
Addressing the transgender youth of the nation, she wrote, “I know that each and every day you confront many difficult challenges. Sadly, some of the challenges you face are from people who would seek to use your identity and circumstance as a weapon. It hurts. I know. I cannot promise you that these attacks will immediately cease, but I will do everything I can to support you and advocate for you.”
— National Center for Transgender Equality (@TransEquality) March 24, 2021
Rachel Levine joins Pete Buttigieg as the second openly LGBTQI serving member of the American Cabinet – Buttigieg was nominated by Biden as his pick for Secretary of Transportation, a nomination that was confirmed by the US Senate on February 2 by a vote of 86-13.
Biden-Harris Fulfils Promises To LGBTQI Communities
The appointment of America’s first transgender federal offical is one of the many ways that the Biden / Harris administration are acknowledging and improving the quality of life for the LGBTQI community in the USA.
The first was the inclusion of transgender folks in the list of groups he thanked in his victory speech, the first victory speech by an American president to mention the transgender community.
Other commitments that have been made and so far met have been the signing of an Executive Order to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, which was signed within the first hours of his presidency and about which LGBTQI rights advocacy group Human Rights Campaign said, “Biden’s Executive Order is the most substantive, wide-ranging executive order concerning sexual orientation and gender identity ever issued by a United States President.”
Biden also quickly revoked the previous administration’s ban on race and gender diversity training along with the ban on transgender people from serving openly in the military.