PA LGBTQ Equality Caucus denounces U.S. Sen. Rand Paul for bringing his transphobia to the confirmation hearing of Dr. Rachel Levine

PHILADELPHIA, Feb. 25 – Members of the Pennsylvania LGBTQ Equality Caucus, a bipartisan and bicameral caucus made up of members of the General Assembly who advocate for equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer residents, today condemned U.S. Sen. Rand Paul for the sickening and misinformed transphobic comments he made during the confirmation hearing of Dr. Rachel Levine.

Levine, who if confirmed would be the highest ranking openly trans government official at the federal level, is President Joe Biden’s nominee for assistant secretary of Health and Human Services. She previously served as Pennsylvania’s physician general and secretary of Health.

State Rep. Brian Sims, D-Phila, a caucus co-chairman, said Levine’s testimony should have left no doubt about her commitment to public health and her qualifications to take on such a role. He condemned Paul for using an opportunity to learn more about a remarkable woman who helped to lead Pennsylvania through a once-in-a-generation worldwide pandemic to instead spew dangerous hate and bigotry.

“As the Biden administration moves forward appointing the top experts that reflect the true diversity of our nation to key positions, sadly bigots like Rand Paul still lurk about our government,” Sims said. “Despite his hateful and transphobic rantings and attempt to demean her during questioning, Dr. Levine did what she’s done time and time again, she answered his hate, bigotry and complete misinformation with the composure and the professionalism that he did not deserve. While I am disgusted with how Dr. Levine was treated during the hearing today, I am beyond grateful that she has chosen a life of public service and we have such an exemplary role model for the trans youth that Senator Paul was attacking with his comments.”    

“Instead of focusing on Dr. Levine’s qualifications to serve as the assistant secretary of health, Senator Paul attempted to use this historic moment to promote transphobic misinformation. Violence against the transgender community is already at high levels and anti-trans talking points such as the ones Paul parroted today can have very real consequences for LGBTQ people,” said state Rep. Dan Frankel, a caucus co-chairman. “We have seen the same brand of ignorant attacks on trans people and gender affirming health care here in Pennsylvania, and the LGBTQ Caucus is committed to fighting for the compassionate, research-based care that everyone deserves.”

"It is critical that nominees be treated with respect and that questions actually focus on their qualifications and how they will work to meet the requirements of the job as a public servant, rather than on ideological and harmful misrepresentations like those from Senator Rand Paul earlier today," stated co-chairwoman of the LGBTQ+ Caucus, Sen. Katie Muth, D-Montgomery/Chester/Berks. “I encourage Senator Paul to take time to unlearn his transphobic rhetoric because otherwise he cannot truly serve the public.”