This week read about Rachel Levine becoming the first trans person to be confirmed by the United States Senate, and the LGBT community showing support for Asians by protesting in California.

 Rachel Levine Becomes First Trans Federal Official Confirmed by US Senate

Dr. Rachel Levine’s appointment as assistant secretary for health in the Department of Health and Human Services made history as she is the first and highest-ranking transgender federal official to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

Levine previously served as Pennsylvania Secretary of Health, where her leadership in response to COVID-19 drew transphobic remarks from lawmakers and local officials. In her first welcome remarks as assistant secretary on Friday, she made it clear that her primary focus would be on bringing an end to the pandemic.

“We are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, but it is not the time to let down our guard,” Levine said.

Levine also addressed the health disparities highlighted by the coronavirus, and will serve on the Health Equity Task Force created by the Biden Administration to make a range of recommendations to inform the administration’s COVID-19 response.

LGBT March Against Anti-Asian Racism Draws Crowds

March

San Francisco City Council Member James Coleman. Photo credit: @JamesColemanSSF, Twitter.

Hundreds of LGBT community members marched to Chinatown to show solidarity and support for Asian communities. The protests were organized in just under a few days by the Gay Asian Pacific Alliance (GAPA), the Alice B. Toklas LGBTQ Democratic Club, and the Harvey Milk Democratic Club, in response to the eight people who were killed in Atlanta, six of whom were Asian women.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters in a press briefing that the Biden administration partly attributes the spike in hate crimes against Asian Americans nationwide over the past year to former President Donald Trump’s rhetoric, noting that it “has elevated threats against Asian Americans, and we’re seeing that around the country.”

GAPA Chair Michael Nguyen opened the event by acknowledging the pain felt by LGBT members of the Asian community.

“How are we going to transform our Asian community to fight back against Asian violence? I really think it’s a personal choice to just stand up and say enough is enough,” Nguyen told Outward Magazine.


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