Transgender official sworn in as four-star admiral

Transgender official sworn in as four-star admiral
Dr Rachel Levine. Source: REUTERS
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Daily US Times: The US assistant secretary for health Dr Rachel Levine has been sworn in as the first transgender four-star officer in the country’s history.

The 63-year-old is now an admiral of the US Public Health Service Commissioned Corps.

Dr Levine was appointed by President Biden and is already the highest-ranking openly transgender official in the US.

She described the occasion as “historic” and “momentous” during a swearing-in speech on Tuesday.

In a speech that paid tribute to other LGBTQ individuals who came before her, she said: “May this appointment today be the first of many more to come, as we create a diverse and more inclusive future.”

Dr Levine previously worked as a paediatrician and she is a graduate of Harvard College and Tulane University School of Medicine.

The US Public Health Service Commissioned Corps has about six thousands uniformed officers and is tasked with responding to health crises like the Covid-19 pandemic and natural disasters.

Xavier Becerra, the US Secretary of Health, described Dr Levine’s appointment to the job as a “giant step forward towards equality as a nation”.

She also served as Pennsylvania’s secretary of health and the state’s physician general, working on issues like responding to widespread opioid addiction.

In March this year, Dr Levine was confirmed as US assistant secretary for health in a 52-48 Senate vote.

During the confirmation process, she faced questions over her handling of the Covid pandemic in nursing homes during her time as health secretary of Pennsylvania.

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