Who is Rachel Levine? First Transgender Officer to be Sworn in as Four-Star Admiral in Health Corps

Dr Rachel Levine is making history again. On October 19, Levine was sworn in as an admiral of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps (PHSCC) — making her the 1st openly transgender four-star officer in the uniformed services and the first female four-star admiral in the PHSCC.

Dr Levine, 63, was sworn in as an admiral in the PHSCC by Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, confirmed the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). According to the media reports, Levine, in her new role, will lead a team of more than 6,000 officers who respond to public health crises and natural disasters.

Historic Moment

"This is a momentous occasion, and I am honored to take this role for the impact I can make and for the historic nature of what it symbolizes," Levine said during her speech at the ceremony.

"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," Levine tweeted upon being sworn in.

Who is Rachel Levine?

Dr Levine is a graduate of Harvard College and Tulane University School of Medicine and previously worked as a pediatrician. Levine served as Pennsylvania's health secretary, highlighting several public health issues across the commonwealth: the opioid epidemic, maternal health and immunization rates among children.

According to her Wikipedia page, Levine has two children. She transitioned in 2011. Levine and her ex-wife, Martha Peaslee Levine, married in 1988, during Levine's last year of medical school, and divorced in 2013. She has served as a board member of Equality Pennsylvania, an LGBT rights organization.

Dr Rachel Levine
Dr Rachel Levine Wikimedia Commons

Levine is Already the Highest-Ranking Openly Transgender Official in the U.S.

In February 2021, U.S. President Joe Biden nominated Levine as assistant secretary for health. Levine made history in March when she became the first openly transgender federal official to be confirmed by the Senate, reported the NBC News. Levine is now the first transgender person who holds an office that needs Senate confirmation.

"[Becoming a four-star officer] is very meaningful to me. I am so impressed by the dedication, the commitment and the expertise of the officers and the United States Public Health Service Commission Corps. And it is truly an honor to lead them and to serve with them," Levine said in an interview with NPR.

"I think this is symbolic of that commitment and for transgender youth and other transgender individuals that there are no glass ceilings and no limitation to what we can achieve," Levine said.

Republican Lauren Boebert's Tweet on Levine is Creating a Stir

Meanwhile, GOP Rep. Lauren Boebert was slammed as 'Hateful Bigot' for her tweet about Levine. Netizens lashed out at the conspiracy-endorsing Republican for her "woke medicine" post about the transgender official. Boebert as a history of transphobic comments and has created a new controversy through her latest tweet.