Just a few moments ago, Dr. Rachel Levine made history.
By a vote of 52-48, Levine was confirmed as assistant secretary of Health and Human Services. She is the first openly transgender person to be confirmed by the Senate. She even had two Republican senators, Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski, join Democrats in voting for her.
Levine survived a brutal confirmation process which saw conservatives practically gang up to sink her nomination, including spreading vicious memes and lies about her on Twitter and Facebook, disrespecting her during the confirmation hearing, and finally conjuring up some nonsense about her mother in a nursing home. This played heavily in the right-wing media, but rightfully got ignored in the mainstream press.
They even falsely claimed that she advocated sex change surgeries for children.
But none of it worked as Levine sailed through.
The road is not going to be easy for Dr. Levine because conservatives and the religious right are angry at her confirmation. And she will continue to be the subject of many ugly lies and comments. But like the old saying goes, "no struggle, no progress." Her confirmation is a victory for the transgender community, not to mention the concepts of fairness and equality.
From The Associated Press:
Levine had been serving as Pennsylvania’s top health official since 2017, and emerged as the public face of the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. She is expected to oversee Health and Human Services offices and programs across the U.S. President Joe Biden cited Levine’s experience when he nominated her in January. 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,” Biden said.