Dr. Rachel Levine releases statement following Senate confirmation

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Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine meets with the media at the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) headquarters in Harrisburg, Pa. in May 2020. President-elect Joe Biden has tapped Levine to be his assistant secretary of health, leaving her poised to become the first openly transgender federal official to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate. (Joe Hermitt/The Patriot-News via AP, File)

Dr. Rachel Levine released a statement after being confirmed by the Senate as the Assistant Secretary for Health at the Department of Health and Human Services:

“I am honored that the U.S. Senate has voted in favor of my nomination to be Assistant Secretary for Health at the Department of Health and Human Services. I am grateful to President Biden and Vice President Harris for nominating me to this important post. I look forward to working under the leadership of Secretary Becerra and ensuring that we promote policies that advance the health and wellbeing of all Americans.

As I prepare to take my oath of office and begin serving as Assistant Secretary for Health, I would like to take this opportunity to address members of the LGBTQ community. First, thank you. Only through your work and advocacy over many decades is my story possible. I am humbled to be the first transgender individual to serve in a Senate-confirmed position. 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. 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.

In particular, I want to address transgender youth. 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. President Obama often reminded us that not all progress goes in a straight line. What I can tell you is that there is a place for you in America and in our government. Our ‘more perfect union’ includes you, too.”

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