The US Senate in a first, confirmed an openly trans-woman doctor to be the nation’s assistant secretary of health. Levine had been serving as Pennsylvania’s top health official since 2017. Levine, who has been at the forefront of the state’s fight against COVID-19 will be overseeing Health and Human Services offices and programs across the US.
Transgender-rights activists have hailed Levine’s appointment as a historic breakthrough.
In January, when President Joe Biden nominated Levine, a paediatrician and former Pennsylvania physician general, he said, she “ 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.”
Levine faced some tough questions on puberty blockers and hormone treatment for young transgender people during her confirmation hearing on February 25. Levine in the past has asserted that puberty-blocking drugs can be valuable medical tools in sparing some transgender youth from mental distress and possible suicide risk.