A man who became a woman five years ago has been nominated to be Pennsylvania’s physician general.
Dr. Rachel Levine has been nominated by Gov. Tom Wolf, the state’s newly sworn-in progressive governor.
The Washington Blade reports the appointment would make Levine the “highest-ranking transgender person to ever hold a position within state government.”
The Patriot-News reports Levine has been a physician at Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center since 1996.
She adds she hopes she can “serve as a mentor and role model” for other LGBT people in the state.
“I’ve been addressing that issue all my life,” Levine tells the paper. “You don’t suddenly decide at 50-something that you’re transgender. Over the last 10 years, I’ve been investigating that and exploring that.”
Wolf spokesman Jeff Sheridan insists Levine was not chosen because she’s transgender but because of “her extensive background in the areas of medical, public and behavioral health.”
“Dr. Rachel Levine is well-respected in the fields of pediatrics, psychiatry, and behavioral health, where she has practiced for close to three decades,” Wolf said in a news release.
“She has been a leading voice in efforts to treat teens with medical and psychological problems, as well as adults and children with eating disorders. It is important to me that we place equal emphasis on behavioral and physical health issues.”