Prior to Tuesday’s coronavirus coverage on Tuesday in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Rachel Levine responded to several transphobic attacks against her.
“While these individuals may think they’re just expressing their pleasure with me, they are actually hurting the thousands of LGBTQ Pennsylvania people who have suffered directly from these current demonstrations of harassment,” Levine said, according to PennLive.com.
Among the anti-trans incidents was a man dressed as Levine for a soaked tank at a local fair, a tinted menu item mocking Levine in a pub, and a radio host who repeatedly called Levine “sir” during the interview.
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“Your actions maintain a spirit of intolerance and discrimination against LGBTQ individuals, and in particular transgender individuals,” Levine said of the incidents. Social media was also littered with transphobic remarks about the secretary.
According to WCAU-TV in Philadelphia, Levine is one of the highest government transgender government officials in the country.
“We have not been able to make progress unless we have all made progress,” she added. “It is in this area that these manifestations of intolerance live and we must continue to work against them.”
Levine said she would apologize sincerely, but added that they were just the beginning of the conversation.
She also thanked Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, the Democrat who appointed her, for the support and progress made by the LGBTQ community under his administration, according to PennLive.
Levine, one of the main faces of the Penonylvan coronavirus reaction, faced criticism during the outbreak. A few months ago, she moved her 95-year-old mother from a nursing home, saying that after recovering from the virus, others could return to nursing homes.
“My mother asked and my sister and I, as her children, committed to moving to another location with her children during the outbreak of COVID-19,” Levine said in May.
According to KDKA-TV in Pittsburgh, she was recently criticized by Republicans for not attending a hearing of restaurant owners who asked for financial support.
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“Why didn’t he come and answer our questions?” Attorney Martin Causer, R-Coudersport, chairman of the State Committee for Republican Policy, asked the station. “Why not sit before this parliamentary committee and talk about the governor’s order and answer members’ questions?”