Biden’s Health Official Sworn in as First-Ever Transgender Four-Star Admiral
'I'm doing this because of my dedication to service'
Joe Biden's top health appointee was sworn in as the first transgender four-star admiral on Tuesday.
Rachel Levine, who was born male but identifies as a woman, was sworn in on Tuesday as an admiral of the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps.
"I'm doing this because of my dedication to service ... with the utmost respect and honor for the uniform that I will be wearing," Levine told the Washington Post.
“I stand on the shoulders of those LGBTQ+ individuals who came before me, both those known and unknown,” she said.
I am deeply honored & grateful to join the ranks of men & women across this great nation who have committed to defend the United States against small & large threats, known and unknown. I promise to uphold that trust to the fullest extent of my abilities. https://t.co/ryfwRqbAoz— ADM Rachel Levine (@HHS_ASH) October 19, 2021
“May this appointment today be the first of many more to come as we create a diverse and more inclusive future.”
Levine said she would start wearing the blue uniform of her ranking immediately.
Today, Dr. Rachel Levine was sworn in as the first 4-star female officer in the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, and the first transgender 4-star officer in U.S. history in any of the eight U.S. uniformed services.— The White House (@WhiteHouse) October 19, 2021
We are proud to serve alongside her. https://t.co/sGX3U8QvPh
Levine oversees a 6,000-person force responding to health crises on behalf of the federal government, which includes duties like offering aid after major disasters.
Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said of Levine's new ranking:
"Adm. Levine’s historic appointment as the first openly transgender four-star officer is a giant step forward toward equality as a nation."
NEW - Rachel Levine sworn in as "first openly transgender, female four-star admiral" in the U.S. Public Health Service. pic.twitter.com/E4dtJpaBtv— Disclose.tv (@disclosetv) October 19, 2021
In March, Levine became an assistant secretary for the Health and Human Services Department, making history becoming the highest-ranking transgender official in the U.S.
Majority Leader Chuck Schumer touted Levine's pick by the Biden administration as a representation of "another important milestone for the American LGBTQ." community."
But Levine's appointment became controversial over her handling of the coronavirus pandemic in nursing homes during her tenure as physician general of Pennsylvania.
In May, Levine asked a reporter to not “misgender” him after the reporter addressed him as “sir.”