Bypassing biological women, the Biden administration is celebrating U.S. Assistant Secretary of Health Rachel Levine — who is transgender — as the “first-ever female four-star admiral” of the U.S. Public Health Services Commissioned Corps.
President Joe Biden nominated the 63-year-old Levine, born a biological male, to serve in his administration earlier this year, making the doctor the first openly transgender person confirmed by the U.S. Senate. On Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services named Levine as the first four-star officer in the commissioned corps of the Public Health Service, according to Fox News.
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“The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) publicly announced today the nation’s first openly transgender four-star officer across any of the eight uniformed services of the United States,” the agency stated in a press release issued Tuesday. “Admiral Rachel Levine, who serves as the HHS Assistant Secretary for Health and head of the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) Commissioned Corps, was ceremonially sworn in as a four-star admiral.”
“Admiral Levine now serves as the highest ranking official in the USPHS Commissioned Corps and its first-ever female four-star admiral,” the statement continued. “Admiral Levine will lead 6,000 Public Health Service officers who are dedicated to serving our nation’s most underserved and vulnerable populations. Today’s historic announcement builds on the accomplishments of LGBTQ+ History Month and is a major step forward as we work to create a more inclusive society.”
Speaking at a very brief service held Tuesday morning, Levine said: “I am honored to serve as the first female four-star officer of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps and the first openly transgender four-star officer to serve across any of the eight uniformed services.”
“This is a momentous occasion,” added Levine. “And I am honored to take this role for the impact that I can make and for the historic nature of what it symbolizes. I stand on the shoulders of those LGBTQ+ individuals who came before me, both those known and unknown. May this appointment today be the first of many more to come as we create a more diverse and more inclusive future.”
HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra celebrated Levine’s “historic appointment” in a statement of his own Tuesday.
He described the doctor’s swearing-in as a four-star admiral as “a giant step forward towards equality as a nation and a proud moment for [the Department of Health and Human Services].” Levine, Becerra added, “is a cherished and critical partner in our work to build a healthier America.”
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