Rachel Levine Is First Openly Transgender Official Confirmed by Senate.


Dr. Rachel Levine, President Biden’s pick to be assistant secretary for health, made history on Wednesday by becoming the first openly transgender person confirmed by the Senate to a federal position, and immediately vowed to “promote policies that advance the health and well-being of all Americans” and to fight for transgender youth.

The Senate vote, 52 to 48, followed a contentious confirmation hearing that became a flash point in the battle over transgender rights. Dr. Levine, a pediatrician and former health secretary in Pennsylvania, will assume her post at the federal Health and Human Services Department at a challenging time, just as Mr. Biden is trying to lead the country out of the coronavirus crisis.

In a statement shared with The New York Times, Dr. Levine said she was “humbled” by the Senate’s approval and thanked the L.G.B.T.Q. community for its support.

“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.”

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