Rachel Levine becomes US’s first openly transgender four-star admiral

She also serves as US Assistant Secretary of Health

Josh Marcus
San Francisco
Tuesday 19 October 2021 19:56
Comments
<p>Dr Rachel Levine becomes the first openly transgender four star admiral</p>

Dr Rachel Levine becomes the first openly transgender four star admiral

Leer en Español

On Tuesday, the Biden administration swore in the nation’s first openly transgender four-star officer in one of America’s eight uniformed services.

Rachel Levine, already US assistant secretary for public health, became an admiral in the US Public Health Service Corps, a 6,000-person service that sends government medical officials to respond to health crises like Covid or natural disasters.

“I stand before you in this uniform ready to be a beacon in these dark days of Covid-19, working to serve you and this great nation,” she said during remarks on Tuesday.

“I am honored to serve as the first female four-star officer of the US Public Health Service Commissioned Corp and the first openly transgender four-star officer to serve across any of the eight uniformed services.”

The Corps, which was established in 1889, is one of the nation’s uniformed services, alongside the six military services and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Officer Corps, which pilots research vessels.

“This is a momentous occasion, and it’s an honour to take this role for the impact I can make, and the historic nature of what it symbolises. I stand on the shoulders of those LGBTQ+ individuals who came before me, both those known and unknown,” Admiral Levine added. “Diversity makes us stronger.”

Health officials and diversity advocates celebrated the appointment.

“Admiral Levine’s historic appointment as the first openly transgender four-star officer is a giant step forward toward equality as a nation,” Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a statement.

“Congratulations Dr. Rachel Levine on making history once again” added GLAAD.

Some conservatives lashed out at the news, with Tom Fitton, president of the conservative legal group judicial watch, calling the appointment “playing quota politics with public health service”.

Dr Levin is the former Pennsylvania health secretary, and was a top doctor at Pennsylvania State University Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, where her work included facilitating groups with LGBT+ patients. She transitioned in 2011.

Joe Biden promised his administration would be the most diverse in US history.

“I promise you, you’ll see the most diverse Cabinet representative of all folks – Asian Americans, African Americans, Latinos, LGBTQ – across the board,” he said in December.

So far, notable strides in representation have occurred, such as Kamala Harris becoming the first Black person and person of South Asian descent to be vice-president. Fifty-eight per cent of his agency nominees have been women, and his cabinet has included the first female Secretary of the Treasury, the first Native American Secretary of the Interior, and the first woman of colour to chair the Council of Economic Advisors.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged in