Pennsylvania’s Transgender Community Responds to Dr. Rachel Levine’s Pick for the Biden Administration

“Thank you, Dr. Levine.”

 

Rachel_Levine_Pennsylvania
Photo via WPAC

When I first heard about that President-elect Biden has selected PA Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine to be  assistant secretary of health, I smiled. She’s been the embodiment of leadership throughout the pandemic in Pennsylvania and has many pre-pandemic accomplishments. She’s maintained dignity, calm, and adherence to science while navigating a ridiculous political climate with the Pennsylvania General Assembly. And she’s endured relentless vicious attacks while maintaining a compassionate message that those attacks hurt everyday trans people, too.

We have a habit of amplifying voices on this blog, so I invited my trans neighbors and some cis allies to share their thoughts, including messages to Dr. Levine. I will continue to update this post as responses are submitted.

If you are interested in what Pennsylvania’s transgender community thinks about Dr. Rachel Levine, this is worth a read.  ~ Sue

PS: We’ll update this. Feel free to contact us to contribute.


Name: Ms Kill
Pronouns: she/her/hers
Age: late 40s

How do you describe your identity? Trans Female

Do you identify as transgender? Yes

What has been your impression of Dr. Rachel Levine during her tenure as Director of the Health Department?
Always impressed with her calmness, her depth when answering questions and her humor (wash your hands for as long as it takes to sing happy birthday twice)

What are your thoughts about her proposed role within the Biden Administration? I hope she can make a difference in getting gender affirming services covered by insurance

What does her elevation mean to trans folx in our region of Western Pennsylvania? Hopefully the governor does find someone equally qualified. But for Trans folk in PA that is probably a loss. Hopefully, that is compensated by a change in policy on the national level.

What is your message to Dr. Levine? First, I would be thrilled to just sit down with her for coffee some time and chat. Secondly, I hope she is instrumental in expanding trans health coverage and acceptance of the trans community nationwide. I wish her all the best for her new role.


 

Name: Patrouious Raymond Achatz
Pronouns: he/him/his
Age: 27

How do you describe your identity? I  identify as a man with trans experience, demisexual, and heteroromantic.

Do you identify as transgender? I do identify as transgender.

What has been your impression of Dr. Rachel Levine during her tenure as Director of the Health Department? I have been very impressed with Dr. Rachel Levine during her tenure as the department of health secretary of PA, and I was impressed with her when she was the physician general of PA.

What are your thoughts about her proposed role within the Biden Administration?  I was really excited when I saw that Dr. Rachel Levine was nominated for the Assistant Secretary of the US Department of Health and Human services. She absolutely deserves this role and has done so much for Pennsylvania.

What does her elevation mean to trans folx in our region of Western Pennsylvania? For trans folks like myself, her evaluation means that now we must move forward. We must move forward to normalize LGBTQ+ folks especially trans folks, because we are humans too. There is no such thing as a superior human being. Trans people can do a job just as well as cis people.

A person’s race, sexual orientation, gender identity, etc, doesn’t disqualify a person from the job. I had the honor of meeting her twice in person, and she has been nothing but wonderful. One of those times was part of a Trans Youth Round table with the Pennsylvania Youth Congress for an emergency meeting after the Trump administration rescinded Title IX protections for trans students. If Dr. Rachel Levine is confirmed, there will be a push for fairness in healthcare.

What is your message to Dr. Levine? Dr. Rachel Levine I want to congratulate you. You have done alot for Pennsylvania, I have friends who had you as their PCP before you were on Governor Wolf’s Cabinet. They have told me nothing but wonderful things about you. I wish you the best of luck, and I hope that the senate Republicans will give you a fair confirmation hearing and will respect you. You deserve this job and you deserve respect. Thank You Dr. Rachel Levine


Dr. Rachel Levine
Photo: PennCapitol-Star

Name: Conrad Kalcich
Pronouns: he, him, his
Age: 33

How do you describe your identity? Bisexual Trans Man

Do you identify as transgender? yep

What has been your impression of Dr. Rachel Levine during her tenure as Director of the Health Department?
It is evident that Dr. Levine was a pediatrician. In every public setting I’ve seen her speak in she is poised, clear, kind, and concise. It is clear she has a lot of knowledge to share but has a way of being able to put people at ease even in the scariest of times. As Director of Health she has had to lead a very complex situation. We all know lives at are stake in every way possible and she has both conveyed the gravity of the situation and told us exactly what we the public needed to know to minimize the impact of Covid-19. In her position, this is the very best she can give us and she’s done it all with professionalism and grace especially in the face of willful ignorance both as a public health official and a transgender woman.

What are your thoughts about her proposed role within the Biden Administration? Over the past four years it’s been hard to be a trans person who can envision an equal future in any sense let alone seeing such an amazing woman reach the senate floor for confirmation to such an office. There will be a gross amount of misinformation about trans folks once again circulating various media outlets I’m sure but, Dr. Levine is the perfect candidate to have in the public eye. She is extremely qualified and frankly pretty palatable to lots of folks. I very much hope this leads to more nondiscrimination policy at the federal level for trans healthcare which is impossibly lacking at the current moment.

What does her elevation mean to trans folx in our region of Western Pennsylvania? Our elders grew up seeing their first transgender person represented on Jerry Springer. Youth now have more representation but I think it will help folks see that we are not a singular sad story of struggle. We have families that love us, successful careers, and expertise to share with the world. Allegheny county is special in Pennsylvania, we have protections and resources that (outside of Philadelphia) trans folks dream about. I think Dr. Levine means a lot of hope for us in a way that was very difficult to dream of even just months ago.

What is your message to Dr. Levine? Thank you for what you have done for every Pennsylvanian, whether they appreciate you or not, your work has made a tremendous difference.


Name: Rigel
Pronouns: he/him
Age: 24

How do you describe your identity? I’m a bisexual transgender man.

Do you identify as transgender? Yes.

What has been your impression of Dr. Rachel Levine during her tenure as Director of the Health Department?
I think she has done well and acted intelligently, especially under the pressure of the coronavirus pandemic. She’s always level headed. I can imagine how difficult that must be with her sudden catapult into the spotlight and how terrible members of the public can be towards trans people.

What are your thoughts about her proposed role within the Biden Administration? I actually called it about a week ago! I told my girlfriend, “Watch, Biden is going to appoint Dr. Levine to a federal office.” I think it’s an appropriate role for her and I hope she can continue to do the country well!

What does her elevation mean to trans folx in our region of Western Pennsylvania? For me personally, it means a lot. Holding a political office has been a dream of mine since I was a kid. However, being trans means that my job security isn’t great even at an hourly level. I never thought I’d ever have a chance to win an election or get appointed to any office because of my trans status, especially living in conservative WestPA. But seeing Dr. Levine succeeded on the state and federal level gives me hope. It’s inspiring.

I wish I had more transgender idols like her as a kid. I’m very excited for the next generation of trans kids who will be able to grow up with one of their own in the government to look up to.

What is your message to Dr. Levine? Honestly, just thank you. It takes a lot of strength and courage to be out and proud while in the public eye. Thank you for displaying that.

Thank you for taking one for the team. Your existence has made all the transphobes come out of the woodwork and now the rest of us know who to avoid. Lot of local-to-me business owners are included in that, and now I know to no longer give them my money. I wish I didn’t have to thank you for this, but here we are.

Good luck in Washington!


 

**********************************************

This blog proudly built by snowflakes, social justice warriors, and the politically correct. Steel_City_Snowflakes

Join the Steel City Snowflakes with a one time or recurring investment in our projects.  Click the image  to see our current snowflakes.

Follow us on Twitter @Pghlesbian24