Rachel Levine

Rachel Levine

: Photo from Wikimedia Commons / Author of Photo: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services


* Was born as a boy named Richard in 1957
* Officially declared himself a female in 2011
* Served on the board of Equality Pennsylvania, a statewide homosexual and transgender advocacy group
* Was appointed as Pennsylvania’s Physician General in 2015
* Was appointed as Pennsylvania’s Secretary of Health in 2018
* More than 12,000 elderly COVID victims in Pennsylvania nursing homes died under Levine’s watch in 2020.
* Removed his own 95-year-old mother from a nursing home at that time
* Presided over a slow and inefficient rollout and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines in late 2020
* Was nominated in 2021 by President Biden to serve as the Assistant Secretary for Health at HHS
* Has advocated for allowing minors to receive hormone blockers and genital-mutilation surgeries

Rachel Levine was born into a Jewish household as a boy named Richard Leland Levine on October 28, 1957, in Wakefield, Massachusetts. Levine attended a conservative Hebrew shul and was bar mitzvahed at the age of 13, but would later join the much more liberal Reform Judaism movement.

After attending the boys-only Belmont Hill School in Belmont, Massachusetts, Levine earned a bachelor’s degree from Harvard College in the late 1970s and an MD (with a specialty in pediatric medicine) from the Tulane University School of Medicine in 1983. He also spent time as a resident at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York from 1988 to 1993.

During his fourth year at Tulane, Levine (while still identifying as a male) met and married a fellow student named Martha Peaslee, who later went on to become an associate professor of pediatrics, psychiatry and humanities at the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center in Pennsylvania. The couple had two children before getting divorced in 2013.

Levine reports that he himself was still a young boy when he first began noticing that he felt as if he was actually female. In the mid-1990s Levine began what he has described as a 15-year process to fully transition from male to female. In 2011, he publicly announced himself as a transgender woman.

While working as a doctor (in charge of the adolescent medicine and eating disorders clinic) at the aforementioned Hershey Medical Center in 2014, Levine also served on the board of Equality Pennsylvania, a statewide homosexual and transgender advocacy group. Moreover, he was the liaison for LGBT Affairs at the Hershey Medical Center’s Office of Diversity. In early January of 2015, Pennsylvania’s Democratic Governor-elect Tom Wolf appointed Levine to his transition team, where he helped formulate policies related to health matters.

In 2015 as well, Gov. Wolf appointed Levine as Pennsylvania’s Physician General, and the State Senate unanimously confirmed him for that post on June 9 of that year. Focusing on LGBTQ and diversity issues, Levine soon became a darling of the political left in Pennsylvania. The Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle, for instance, hailed him as the first openly transgender person to hold the position of Physician General in Pennsylvania. He was also named the grand marshal of the Philadelphia Pride Parade in 2015.

In 2017, Levine collaborated with opponents of Pennsylvania House Bill 1933, which sought to end taxpayer funding for sex-change-related medical treatments for minors but was voted down in the legislative process. Levine, who was the state’s acting secretary of health at that time, thanked University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) Plastic Surgery Chief Joseph Losee for a December 4, 2017 letter that he (Losee) had written in opposition to HB 1933 on behalf of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) and the Robert H. Ivy Pennsylvania Society of Plastic Surgeons.

Losee’s letter exhorted members of the Pennsylvania Legislature to oppose HB 1933, claiming that it would harm children by denying them access to “gender affirming” plastic surgeries. “Gender-affirming surgeries will be unattainable for many transgender people who need them, depriving them of lasting concordance with their gendered self and enhanced psychological wellbeing and overall health,” the letter read. “Care of individuals with gender dysphoria requires a multidisciplinary approach that may include mental health professionals, primary care physicians, endocrinologists and plastic surgeons. The breadth of the process demands comprehensive coverage from third party payers, and it is well within the scope of procedures that programs like Medical Assistance and CHIP [the Pennsylvania Children’s Health Insurance Program] should be ensuring access to.”

“This is great. Thank you very much,” Levine wrote in an email to Losee after the latter had sent him a copy of the letter. Levine also met and posed for photographs with members of Pennsylvania Youth Congress (PYC), an LGBT organization, in October 2017. According to a PYC Instagram post, the meeting was intended to bolster the “effort to stop the ban on trans youth healthcare under CHIP.”

In 2018, Governor Wolf appointed Levine as Pennsylvania’s Secretary of Health. Beginning early in 2020, Levine assisted Wolf in implementing widespread lockdowns designed to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic associated with coronavirus.

Most significantly, Levine’s record on protecting the elderly population of Pennsylvania during the COVID pandemic was abysmal. On March 18, 2020, he ordered that no nursing homes in his state would be allowed to deny admission or re-admission to COVID patients, even if they were knowingly suffering from the disease. Consequently, the pandemic spread like wildfire through Pennsylvania’s nursing homes, and more than 12,000 COVID victims died in those facilities while Levine was the state’s Health Secretary.

Moreover, a great deal of data about the COVID-related casualties that occurred in at least 138 of Pennsylvania’s 693 nursing homes mysteriously went missing, causing some Republican officials – like Pennsylvania’s House of Representatives majority leader Kerry Benninghoff and congressional Rep. Mike Kelly — to suspect the possibility of a cover-up. The inaccessibility of that data, said the news outlet Spotlight PA, “obscur[ed] deadly outbreaks and [made] it difficult for families and resident advocates to monitor COVID-19 hotspots.” When Republican U.S. Senator Susan Collins — during a February 2021 hearing before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions — asked Levine to explain why so much data was still incomplete, Levine cited lags in the state’s Electronic Death Reporting System.

On March 29, 2020 – eleven days after Levine had issued his aforementioned nursing-home order, he removed his own 95-year-old mother from the nursing home where she was living at that time. Levine defended the move by stating: “My mother requested, and my sister and I as her children complied to move her to another location during the Covid-19 outbreak. My mother is 95 years old. She is very intelligent and more than competent to make her own decisions.” As investigative reporter Daniel Greenfield later pondered: “Many … wondered what kind of message it sends — when a close relative of the person tasked with overseeing those types of facilities doesn’t choose to stay in one.”

In March 2020 as well, Levine was named president of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials. During an interview in which he participated approximately seven weeks later, he became highly agitated when radio personality Marty Griffin twice called him “sir.” Levine told Griffin several times, “please don’t misgender me.”

In the city of Harrisburg on June 3, 2020, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf marched in a large protest in memory of George Floyd, a black man who had died as a result of a highly publicized physical altercation with a white Minneapolis police officer nine days earlier. The size of that protest far exceeded the 250-person limit that Governor Wolf himself had recently placed on all outdoor gatherings in Harrisburg. When reporters subsequently asked Levine why the Harrisburg demonstrators had been allowed to violate Wolf’s order with impunity, he indicated that exceptions were permissible for rallies related to “significant social issues” like racism. “The governor has always said that people have the right to protest, and to demonstrate, and the right to free speech,” said Levine, “and so overall, we want large gatherings such as maybe a party or some type of concert or something, to be under 250 people. But we are not restricting people’s right to protest. There are all obviously significant social issues that are present, that people feel that they need to have a voice, and so the governor is always supportive of that and is participating.”

In August 2020, Levine refused to answer a reporter’s question asking why he and the Carlisle Car Show had secretly entered into a confidential agreement allowing that four-day outdoor event to take place as scheduled — even though it drew some 20,000 attendees per day, thereby violating the so-called “green phase” restrictions limiting all outdoor events in Pennsylvania to 250 people. “Any type of ongoing legal issue, you know I can’t really comment on,” said Levine. Outraged by Levine’s secretly negotiated agreement, Butler County District Attorney Richard Goldlinger said: “Governor Wolf has sent a letter to local law enforcement asking them to enforce his mask mandate, yet they’re making confidential agreements to allow large congregations of people to come together. They’re talking out of both sides of their mouths.”

Beginning late in 2020, Levine presided over a very slow and inefficient rollout and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. In November 2020 he said, “We anticipate we’re going to be rolling this out through the winter and then into the spring and into the summer. It could take a significant amount of time to immunize everyone in Pennsylvania. I anticipate we’re going to be wearing masks well into 2021, maybe to the end of 2021.”

On January 19, 2021, Democratic President Joe Biden nominated Levine to serve as the Assistant Secretary for Health at the Department of Health and Human Services. On March 24, 2021, Levine became the first openly transgender person ever confirmed by the U.S. Senate. The vote was 52-48 in his favor, with all 50 Democrats as well as two Republicans — Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski — voting to confirm him. “She is a historic and deeply qualified choice to help lead our administration’s health efforts,” Biden said in a statement, praising Levine’s “steady leadership and essential expertise.”

On February 25, 2021, Republican Senator Rand Paul, who is a physician by training, questioned Levine vis-à-vis the latter’s support for dangerous medical procedures for minors identifying as transgender – procedures designed to prevent the youngsters from going through what Levine called “the wrong puberty.” Specifically, Levine has advocated for allowing minors to receive hormone blockers as well as genital-mutilation surgeries whose physical effects are irreversible. After Paul pointed out that genital mutilation is viewed as “a violation of human rights” almost everywhere in the world, and that “80 to 95 percent of prepubertal children with gender dysphoria” snap out of it “by late adolescence” if left alone, he asked Levine: “Do you believe that minors are capable of making such a life-changing decision as changing one’s sex?” Levine replied evasively: “Well, Senator thank you for your interest in this question. Transgender medicine is a very complex and nuanced field with robust research and standards of care that have been developed. And if I am fortunate enough to be confirmed as the Assistant Secretary of Health, I will look forward to working with you and your office and coming to your office and discussing the particulars of the standards of care for transgender medicine.”

Senator Paul then tried again: “Do you support the government intervening to override the parent’s consent to give a child puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and/or amputation surgery of breasts and genitalia?” In reply, Levine repeated the obviously rehearsed “thank you for your interest” remarks almost verbatim.

During a Pride Month Town Hall which was live-streamed by the Democratic National Committee in late June 2022, Levine accused “opponents of LGBTQ equality” of “target[ing] trans and queer youth to score political points.” “Every major medical association agrees: gender-affirming care is life-saving, medically necessary, age-appropriate and a critical tool for health care providers,” added Levine. “As a pediatrician, when it comes to making sure kids are healthy and happy, I know how important care that affirmed someone’s true identity can be.” In response to Levine’s remarks, Florida Department of Health spokesman Jeremy T. Redfern told Fox News Digital: “The Surgeon General is opposed to experimental and irreversible medical treatments on children and teenagers that suffer from gender dysphoria. The idea that this makes anyone at the Department of Health an ‘opponent of LGBTQ equality’ is nothing more than a poorly attempted character assassination.”

During a July 18, 2022 appearance on MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell Reports, Levine argued in favor of “gender-affirmation treatment” for transgender young people in states where legislatures had blocked such procedures. “Well, you know, trans youth are vulnerable, and they suffer significant harassment and bullying, sometimes in schools or their community,” said Levine. “They have more mental health issues, but there’s nothing inherent with being transgender or gender diverse, which would predispose youth to depression or anxiety. It is that harassment and bullying. Now they are suffering politically motivated attacks through state actions against these vulnerable transgender youth. This is not based upon data. These actions are politically motivated. And so we really want to base our treatment and to affirm and to support and empower these youth, not to limit their participation activities in sports, and even limit their ability to get gender-affirmation treatment in their state.”

In 2022 as well, Levine gave a talk to the Federation of State Medical Boards in New Orleans, where he exhorted doctors to “advocate for tech companies” to censor LGBTQ “misinformation.” Said Levine:

“So health professionals have a critical role to play. We must continue and to expand their work to address health misinformation directly with their patients. Now, this includes but it goes beyond COVID-19. So I’d like to just talk briefly about another area of substantial misinformation that is directly impacting health equity in our nation, and that is the health equity of sexual and gender minorities. There is substantial misinformation about gender-affirming care for transgender and gender-diverse individuals. We are in this nation facing an onslaught of anti LGBTQI+ plus actions at the state levels across the United States, and they are dangerous to the public health. The positive value of gender-affirming care for youth and adults is not in scientific or medical dispute. So, we all need to work together to get our voices out in the front line…. And we know how effective our medical community can be, talking to communities, whether it’s at town halls, schools, conversations with others. And we need to use our clinicians’ voice to collectively advocate for our tech companies to create a healthier, cleaner information environment.”

In early December 2022, Levine called on doctors nationwide to do everything in their power to help normalize transgenderism, saying: “I encourage all of you to think of yourself as ambassadors to your communities, ambassadors for science” who can make an effort to “confront the fact that the language of care and compassion that [critics of the transgender movement are] using,” serves to “tear our communities apart.” Among Levine’s additional remarks were the following:

“These conversations don’t need to be limited or restricted to a medical setting. Offer yourselves as informational resources not just for youth but for school teachers, principals, school boards, professional organizations, recreation centers, county commissioners, and others who would benefit from this information and your perspective. Please proactively seek out opportunities to speak about what you know.”

“We need to have these conversations that question the assumptions that are underlying today’s attacks on trans people. Pushing back the veil of ignorance demands this extra effort.”

“Medicine and science are being politically perverted around this country [and] we have reached a tipping point … for the health and wellbeing of LGBTQI+ youth and other Americans.”

“Those who attack our community are driven by an agenda of politics. It has nothing to do with medicine; it has nothing to do with science. They are rejecting … well established science, and simply rejecting basic human compassion.”

Speaking at the Pediatric Grand Rounds session at the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center in March 2023, Levine predicted that surgeries and other medical procedures designed to change children’s genders would soon be normalized. Proudly affirming that such “gender-affirming care” had the “highest support” of the Biden administration, he added: “I’m a positive and optimistic person, and I choose to be positive, optimistic. And I think that the wheels will turn on this.”

On March 31, 2023, Levine released a Twitter video in celebration of the annual “International Transgender Day of Visibility.” Said Levine in the video: “For the second year in a row, the transgender flag is flying above our department in Washington, D.C.  And this is an affirmation of the administration’s support for the transgender community and across the nation, as well as our support for evidence-based gender-affirming care,” Levine said in a video.

In a separate Twitter statement, Levine said that there was a need for more “progress” to be made on behalf of minorities, immigrants, and young people who identified as transgender:


In August 2023, Levine visited and praised Identity Alaska, an Anchorage-based nonprofit and healthcare clinic that works to “advance Alaska’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, asexual, two-spirited + community through advocacy, education, health care and connectivity.” He thanked the clinic for providing “lifesaving medical care.”

National Review describes Identity Alaska’s worldview and teachings as follows:

“Identity Alaska publishes resources that recommend replacing the word ‘mother’ with ‘egg producer,’ or ‘carrier.’ The terms ‘gestational parent’ or ‘birth parent’ are also good words to de-gender language, the clinic mentions. Much of the clinic’s guidance comes from Gender Inclusive Biology, a curriculum guide that seeks to ‘adapt existing biology’ to grow a ‘gender-inclusive curriculum.’ Gender Inclusive Biology tells teachers to ask questions such as, “How can we affirm our transgender and intersex students when we talk about X and Y chromosomes,’ ‘How will students with same-sex parents interpret and internalize our lessons about meiosis and sexual reproduction,’ and ‘Can we create safe spaces of scientific exploration and protect trans youth in schools?’ The curriculum is specifically designed for science teachers…. Identity Alaska’s resources recommend that men be called ‘testicle-having people’ or ‘those with testicles.'”

In September 2022, Canadian sex researcher James Cantor wrote a report indicating that Levine had pressured the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) to issue its new Standards of Care: Version 8 (SoC 8) guidelines as quickly as possible. The website SexMatters.org enumerates the following ten highly significant changes that SoC 8 introduced regarding the administration of healthcare for transgender individuals:

  1. Ideologically driven language – The guidelines feature language based in ideology, rather than medicine or biology, throughout. For example, irreversible medical and surgical interventions are referred to as “gender-affirming health care”. Double mastectomies are called “chest masculinization surgery”. Ideological terms such as “cisgender” are used, as well as the scientifically and factually inaccurate term “sex assigned at birth”.
  1. Removal of minimum ages for irreversible medicalisation – The standard does not place any weight on nuanced concern for the welfare and wellbeing of vulnerable children. It does not consider that gender dysphoria is a mental-health symptom and many young people have co-morbidities such as autism and mental-health diagnoses. The guidelines have removed any minimum age limit for a child to be given puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones or sex-reassignment surgery (so long as that child has reached ‘Tanner Stage 2’ of puberty, which can be as young as nine years old). Interestingly, minimum ages had been included in the originally published document before these were quickly removed via a ‘correction’ online. The guidelines state that double mastectomies, euphemistically called ‘chest masculinization surgery’, “can be considered in minors”. Equally, ‘vaginoplasty’ may be considered for under 18-year-olds. The guidelines make it clear that there should be no requirement for a child to have taken cross-sex hormones prior to surgery, “if not desired” by a child – emphasising the consumeristic nature of these guidelines. Hormone treatment is recommended even though it can cause infertility
  1. Chest binding and genital tucking for children – Healthcare professionals are instructed to provide education to children on both ‘chest binding’ and ‘genital tucking’, on the basis that this will provide “comfort” and “lower rates of misgendering”. Chest binding can cause pain, infection and even fractures and the tucking can cause decreased sperm concentration.
  1. Alienation of parents – Healthcare professionals are advised to “challenge” parents who are unsupportive of their child medically transitioning. Equally, they are recommended to prescribe hormone treatment for children without parental involvement, if such involvement would be “harmful or unnecessary”.
  1. Focus on irreversible surgery – The guidelines provides a ‘shopping list’ of recommended surgery for children and adults with ‘trans’ identities. These include, but are not limited to:
  • Body contouring
  • Voice surgery
  • Hair transplant
  • Jaw augmentation
  • Liposuction
  • Brow lift
  • Lip shortening
  • Calf implant
  • Mastectomy
  • Hysterectomy
  • Vaginoplasty
  • Phalloplasty
  1. Abandonment of mental-health safeguarding – The guidelines explicitly state that therapy or counselling should “never be mandatory” before prescribing irreversible medication or surgery, including for children. Therapeutic professionals are told that they must not impose their own narratives or preconceptions, yet are also told that they must be “gender affirming”. These principles are fundamentally incompatible.
  1. Disregarding of mental ill-health – Clinicians are advised that not all mental illness “can or should be resolved” prior to prescribing irreversible medication or surgery. The standard recommends that hormone treatment should not be withheld simply because a child has a ‘neurodevelopment condition’.
  1. Eunuchs – A completely new chapter is dedicated to ‘Eunuchs’ who are defined as individuals who are “assigned male at birth and wish to eliminate masculine physical features or genitals”. The guidelines appear to support individuals who seek “castration” and they are now deemed to fall under the “gender diverse umbrella”. […]
  1. Patients in prisons and psychiatric hospitals – WPATH recommends that staff providing care to individuals resident in prisons or psychiatric hospitals should support them with “gender-affirming surgical treatment… when sought by the individual without undue delay”. […]
  1. Ignoring the lack of studies – All of the above is recommend, notwithstanding the fact that WPATH acknowledges that “the number of studies is still low”, that “there are few outcome studies that follow youth in adulthood”, and that “no clinical studies have reported on profiles of adolescents who regret their initial decision”.

Cantor’s report stated that because WPATH viewed “evidence-based” medicine as a threat to its “policy goals,” the organization had allowed the contents of its S0C 8 to be influenced by “political pressure” such as that which Levine applied. Moreover, the report included the text of several internal WPATH communications discussing, as Cantor put it, Levine’s desire “to rush the development and issuance of SOC-8, in order to assist with Administration political strategy push the new SoC 8 guidelines into effect as quickly as possible.” The report then cited the following WPATH communications about Levine:

  • I have just spoken to Admiral Levine today, who—as always is extremely supportive of the SOC 8, but also very eager for its release—so to ensure integration in the US health policies of the Biden government. So, let’s crack on with the job!!!
  • I am meeting with Rachel Levine and her team next week, as the US Department of Health is very keen to bring the trans health agenda forward.
  • The failure of WPATH to be ready with SOC 8 is proving a barrier to optimal policy progress and she [Dr. Levine] was eager to learn when SOC 8 might be published…. [T]his should be taken as a charge from the United States government to do what is required to complete the project immediately.

Cantor’s report also discussed Levine’s desire to have certain highly significant facts omitted from SoC 8, for fear that their inclusion might cause an outcry and pushback from the American public. Regarding this matter, the report included the following WPATH communications:

  • Assistant Secretary Levine also attempted to and did influence the substantive content of SOC-8, based on political goals rather than science. Specifically, Assistant Secretary Levine,
    though a staff member, pressured WPATH to remove recommended minimum ages for medical transition treatments from SOC-8.13 
  • Sarah Boateng, who is Adm. Levine’s chief of staff [said the] biggest concern is the section below in the Adolescent Chapter that lists specific minimum ages for treatment, she is confident, based on the rhetoric she is hearing in DC, and from what we have already seen, that these specific listings of ages, under 18, will result in devastating legislation for trans care. She wonders if the specific ages can be taken out and perhaps an adjunct document could be created that is published or distributed in a way that is less visible than the SOC8, is the way to go.
  • The issue of ages and treatment has been quite controversial (mainly for surgery) and it has come up again. We sent the document to Admiral Levine . . . She like the SOC-8 very much but she was very concerned that having ages (mainly for surgery) will affect access to health care for trans youth and maybe adults too. Apparently the situation in the USA is terrible and she and the Biden administration worried that having ages in the document will make matters worse. She asked us to remove them. We have the WPATH executive committee in this meeting and we explained to her that we could not just remove them at this stage.
  • [W]e heard your [Dr. Levine’s] comments regarding the minimal age criteria for transgender healthcare adolescents; the potential negative outcome of these minimal ages as recommendations in the US [. . .] Consequently, we have changes to the SOC 8 in this respect. Given that the recommendations for minimal ages for the various gender affirming medical and surgical intervention are consensus-based, we could not remove them from the document. Therefore, we have made changes as to how the minimal ages are presented in the documents.

The pressure that Levine applied in an effort to conceal the facts about the age at which transgender medical procedures could be performed, wrote Cantor, ultimately helped create a situation where “WPATH capitulated and removed the text in violation of its own process despite the preference of its own committee members to retain the age limits.”

Further Reading:Dr. Rachel Levine” (Fact-files.com)

© Copyright 2024, DiscoverTheNetworks.org