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Obama, Clinton push int’l LGBT rights

Administration issues new strategy, as Sec’y of State speaks out



Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (Blade file photo by Michael Key)

The Obama administration on Tuesday made public a sweeping plan to confront anti-LGBT abuses overseas as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton delivered a high-profile speech on protecting human rights that made extensive references to LGBT rights abuses.

On Tuesday, President Obama issued what’s being called the first-ever U.S. government strategy to address LGBT human rights overseas in the form of a memo to the heads of government departments and agencies.

In the memo, Obama writes that the fight to end discrimination against LGBT people is “a global challenge” and “central to the United States’ commitment to promoting human rights.”

“I am deeply concerned by the violence and discrimination targeting LGBT persons around the world — whether it is passing laws that criminalize LGBT status, beating citizens simply for joining peaceful LGBT pride celebrations, or killing men, women, and children for their perceived sexual orientation,” Obama said.


The memo articulates six points in the new strategy to combat LGBT human rights abuses.

* U.S. agencies overseas are directed to strengthen efforts to combat the criminalization by foreign governments of LGBT status or conduct in addition to expanding efforts to combat discrimination overseas on this basis.

* The Departments of State and Homeland Security are directed to ensure LGBT people seeking asylum in the United States have equal access to protection and assistance. Additionally, the Departments of State, Justice and Homeland Security are to ensure appropriate training is in place for government personnel to help LGBT refugees and asylum seekers.

* U.S. foreign aid agencies are directed to engage regularly with governments, citizens, civil society and the private sector to foster an awareness of LGBT human rights.

* The State Department is to lead a “standing group” geared toward ensuring swift response to serious incidents threatening the human rights of LGBT people overseas.

* U.S. agencies overseas are directed to work with international organizations to counter anti-LGBT discrimination and increase the number of countries willing to defend LGBT issues.

* U.S. agencies engaged abroad are required to prepare a report for the State Department within 180 days on their progress on these initiatives. The department will then compile a larger report for the president.

Joe Solmonese, president of the the Human Rights Campaign, praised the Obama administration for the new guidance in a statement.

“As Americans, we understand that no one should be made a criminal or subject to violence or even death because of who they are, no matter where they live,” Solmonese said. “Today’s actions by President Obama make clear that the United States will not turn a blind eye when governments commit or allow abuses to the human rights of LGBT people.”

Victoria Neilson, legal director for Immigration Equality, had particular praise for the added protections for LGBT people seeking asylum in the United States.

“Immigration Equality hears from more than 1,000 LGBT people a year who are fleeing persecution,” Neilson said. “Many face daunting challenges in escaping their home country, let alone reaching the shores of the United States. By instructing foreign service officers to offer all available assistance to those who seek their help, the White House is extending a helping hand to some of the world’s most vulnerable individuals.”

On the same day the memo was issued, Clinton spoke extensively about the need to incorporate LGBT people in human rights protections during remarks at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland.

The speech was in recognition of Human Rights Day, which recognizes the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on Dec. 10, 1948 by the U.N. General Assembly. More than 1,000 diplomats and experts were in attendance.

“Today, I want to talk about the work we have left to do to protect one group of people whose human rights are still denied in too many parts of the world today,” Clinton said. “In many ways, they are an invisible minority. They are arrested, beaten, terrorized, even executed. Many are treated with contempt and violence by their fellow citizens while authorities empowered to protect them look the other way — or too often, even join in the abuse. They are denied opportunities to work and learn, driven from their homes and countries and forced to suppress or deny who they are to protect themselves from harm. I am talking about gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people: human beings born free and given, bestowed equality and dignity who have a right to claim that, which is now one of the remaining human rights challenges of our time.”

Clinton acknowledged that her “own country’s record on human rights for gay people is far from perfect.” She noted that being gay was still a crime in many parts of the country until 2003, when the Supreme Court struck down state sodomy laws in Lawrence v. Texas.

“Many LGBT Americans have endured violence and harassment in their own lives, and for some, including many young people, bullying and exclusion are daily experiences,” Clinton said. “So we, like all nations, have more work to do to protect human rights at home.”

But the secretary also rejected the idea that homosexuality is a Western creation and people outside of Western countries therefore have grounds to reject LGBT people.

“Well, in reality, gay people are born into and belong to every society in the world,” Clinton said. “They are all ages, all races, all faiths; they are doctors and teachers, farmers and bankers, soldiers and athletes; and whether we know it, or whether we acknowledge it, they are our family, our friends, and our neighbors.”

Clinton said those who first crafted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights may not in 1948 have realized the document applied to LGBT people, but said many of the countries involved in its crafting have come to the realization that — as Clinton has articulated before — gay rights are human rights, and human rights are gay rights.

“It is violation of human rights when people are beaten or killed because of their sexual orientation, or because they do not conform to cultural norms about how men and women should look or behave,” Clinton said. “It is a violation of human rights when governments declare it illegal to be gay, or allow those who harm gay people to go unpunished. It is a violation of human rights when lesbian or transgendered women are subjected to so-called corrective rape, or forcibly subjected to hormone treatments, or when people are murdered after public calls for violence toward gays, or when they are forced to flee their nations and seek asylum in other lands to save their lives.”

Clinton also announced the creation of a Global Equality Fund that will support the work of civil society organizations working on LGBT human rights issues around the world. The secretary said the U.S. government has already committed more than $3 million to start this fund.

During a conference call with reporters after the speech, a senior State Department official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights & Labor made grants to organizations in the past, but the Global Equality Fund will “make permanent, or bolster the efforts to support civil society organizations around the world.”

The official said organizations seeking to conduct work in the 80 countries where same-sex relations are criminalized “would be priority areas” for grant money under the fund.

Advocates hailed Clinton for her speech and called it a strong signal the United States is activel;y pushing for an end to LGBT rights abuses overseas. According to HRC, Solmonese met with Clinton in Geneva prior to her speech.

Mark Bromley, chair of the Council for Global Equality, was also in attendance and said Clinton gave a “remarkable speech” that received a standing ovation.

“For us, I think the real question was to set the proper tone to be respectful and to recognize that this is a difficult conversation for many conservative countries, but to also to be very firm in stating unequivocally that this is a human rights priority and a U.S. foreign policy priority,” Bromley said.

Bromley added Clinton struck an appropriate balance by saying she delivered her address with “respect, understanding, and humility” while maintaining the importance of LGBT rights as a priority.

Justin Nelson, president of the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, was also a witness to Clinton’s remarks and called them “monumental” and “historic.”

“It’s such a strong statement that LGBT rights are human rights and human rights are LGBT rights, and that’s American foreign policy,” Nelson said. “It sends a very strong message that people all over the world know that they have an ally in America.”

Bromley said representatives from some countries didn’t stand after the remarks despite the state ovation, but he couldn’t identify who these people were or they countries from which they hailed.

“With most countries represented at some level, and 80 countries that continue to criminalize consensual same-sex relations, there were some that, obviously, would have a difficult time fully understanding the speech,” Bromley said. “But at the same time, I think, the vast majority of audience really reacted enthusiastically and understood it to be a balanced, respective but firm statement of U.S. foreign policy.”

The senior State Department official said 95 percent of the audience was standing after Clinton’s remarks and there was a “sustained standing ovation.”

“I think part of that is attributable to the fact that she came not to wag a finger, but to really invite a conversation,” Clinton said. “I think the audience felt the spirit of respect, and also the spirit of hopefulness that she brought to the speech.”

In the aftermath of the speech, questions linger on whether the Obama administration can truly be support LGBT rights abroad when neither Obama nor Clinton have yet to express support for marriage rights for gay couples at home.

Asked if by advocating for LGBT rights abroad overseas the Obama administration is now in favor of marriage equality, the senior State Department official responded, “I think the secretary and the president have both spoken about their personal views on marriage. I think that one of things that comes up a lot in the international context is that — as in America and elsewhere — there is an ongoing debate about gay marriage. But whatever our position on gay marriage, I think one of the things that many of us have been finding an agreement on is the fact that no matter what you think about that question, we can all agree that people ought not be killed or imprisoned for who are they are and who they love.”

Watch the video of Clinton’s speech here:

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  1. Peter the saint

    December 6, 2011 at 3:06 pm

    Thank you Ms. Clinton, or should I say “Madam President?!” Fantastic speech. FYI, interestingly, upon reading the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the world should please note: the words “all”, “everyone” and “no one” is used in every single article, all thirty articles EXCEPT Article 16, the description of “marriage”.

    In other words, every single statement is entirely inclusive of ALL… except that statement which describes the most supportive, most intimate and most important relationship every human being on this planet would cultivate: the creation of their own family.

    The LGBT human who would seek to CREATE their own life, their own pursuit of happiness, is silently EXCLUDED in Article 16. The world body should begin to correct this document as soon as possible. Why not begin today, Madam Secretary? :D

  2. Grammar Crusader

    December 6, 2011 at 3:36 pm

    “whose* human rights” in Clinton quote.

  3. Jonpol

    December 6, 2011 at 8:42 pm

    This is truly a turning point in the history of gay liberation around the world.

    Thank you, Madam Secretary Hillary Clinton, and of course, thank you too Mr. President Barak Obama.


  4. khin lin

    December 7, 2011 at 12:06 am

    I always admire Ms. Hillary!

  5. Enric

    December 7, 2011 at 3:10 am

    Theres a lot going on in The Scottish Government at moment.about gay marraige they want to allow it,theres a couple of folks from rc church as usual moaning.Come on Scotland shout it from the rooftops.

  6. francis

    December 7, 2011 at 10:31 am

    I truly admire the Obama administration and Sec.Hilary Clinton, supports the LGBT rights and human equality as it is gay rights..Hopefully allow us , me and my american partner will be in each others arms pretty soon..I came from the philippines and we have a hard time to be togeher because we dont have that marriage rights that me and my partner wants it..Hope this will us to be in one place and live happily

  7. Chaz

    December 8, 2011 at 7:21 am

    Inspiring incredible amazing sensational wonderful and heart felt. This road will be long but we will get there for sure…

  8. Jill M

    December 8, 2011 at 2:08 pm

    Congratulations and thank you Ms Clinton. You are a very brave woman.

  9. Bill Perdue

    December 8, 2011 at 3:18 pm

    Obama and Clinton are both pigheaded, bigoted opponents of marriage equality. Obama and his party along with their allied Republican bigots have regularly refused to pass ENDA, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act since 1994. These are the same people who refused to repeal Bill Clintons DOMA in the years since its passage in 1996.

    All these little pronouncements, invitations to Easter egg rolls and temporary appointments of very junior bureaucrats are nice but they’re not aimed at advancing our equality as much as they-re aimed at duping those who insist on being duped.

    In the last presidential election a bit over 1/3 voted for Hopey-Changey and got betrayed. Almost 1/3 voted for McCain, and a bit less than 1/3 voted for None of the Above. The ones who sat it out and refused to take sides in the Battle of the Lesser Evils were the smart ones and the ones who voted for Obama or McCain were either right wing, deluded or masochists.

    With two losers to pick from more and more people will choose ‘None of the above’. On Tuesday, November 6th, 2012 vote left as a protest vote or just sit it out. Instead, those who are serious about change should spend their time building unions, GLBT action groups or the Occupier movement and it’s successors.

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VIDEO: Utah deal promoted as national model for LGBTQ rights, religious liberty

Data finds state has 2nd highest support for LGBTQ rights



(Screen capture via YouTube)

A new video from the premier LGBTQ group in Utah, challenging the idea LGBTQ rights must be at odds with religious liberty, promotes an agreement reached in the state as a potential model to achieve a long sought-after update to civil rights law at the federal level.

The video, published Friday by Equality Utah, focuses on a 2015 agreement in Utah between the supporters of LGBTQ rights and the Mormon Church to enact a compromise acceptable to both sides. The agreement by those two sides led to an LGBTQ civil rights law in the state, which has Republican control of the state legislature and the governor’s mansion.

Troy Williams, executive director of Equality Utah, says in the video dialogue is key to achieving meaningful success, whether its among the people of Utah, a state legislature or lawmakers in Congress.

“When you are working with LGBT rights in a state like Utah, and you want to advance legal equality, you can’t do it without working with Republicans, with conservative, with people of faith,” Williams says.

Williams, speaking with the Washington Blade over a Zoom call, said the main audience for the video is people on “the center right and the center left” willing to listen to other side when it comes to LGBTQ rights and religious liberty.

“People that have the courage to reach out to each other, and sit down across from each other and say, ‘Hey look, let’s hammer this out,” Williams said. “That’s who my audience is.”

Not only did Utah enact non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people, but the state under a Republican governor administratively banned widely discredited conversion therapy for youth. When lawmakers proposed legislation that would ban transgender youth from competing in school sports, the proposal was scuttled when Gov. Spencer Cox (whom Williams called a “super Mormon”) said he’d veto it after it came to his desk.

Marina Gomberg, a former board for Equality Utah, is another voice in the video seeking dispel the narrative religious liberty and LGBTQ rights are in conflict.

“in order to protect LGBTQ people, we don have to deny religious liberty, and in order to provide protections for religious liberties, we don’t have to deny LGBTQ people,” Gomberg says. “The idea that we do is a fallacy that Utah has dismantled.”

In July, new polling demonstrated the surprisingly the Utah, despite being a conservative state, has the second highest percentage of state population in support for non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people. The data Public Religion Research Institute from 77 percent of Utah residents support LGBTQ people, which is just behind New Hampshire at 81 percent.

Tyler Deaton, senior adviser for the pro-LGBTQ American Unity Fund, said the Utah agreement demonstrates the possibility of reaching an agreement at the federal level once “second order” issues are put into perspective.

“The first order question has to be how are we winning the culture,” Deaton said. “Do people even want to pass the bill? And if they do, you then figure out the details.”

The American Unity Fund has helped promote as a path forward for LGBTQ non-discrimination at the federal level the Fairness for For All Act, legislation seeking to reach a middle ground on LGBTQ rights and religious freedom. Polling earlier this year found 57 percent of the American public back a bipartisan solution in Congress to advance LGBTQ civil rights.

Supporters of the Equality Act, the more established vehicle for LGBTQ rights before Congress, say the Fairness for For All Act would give too many carve-out for LGBTQ rights in the name of religious freedom. The Equality Act, however, is all but dead in Congress and has shown no movement in the U.S. Senate.

Skeptics of the Utah law would point out the law doesn’t address public accommodations, one of the more challenging aspects in the fight for LGBTQ rights and one or remaining gaps in civil rights protections for LGBTQ people in the aftermath of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision last year in Bostock v. Clayton County. As a result, it’s perfectly legal in Utah for a business owner to discriminate against LGBTQ coming as patrons.

Williams, however, shrugged off the idea the lack of public accommodations protections in Utah make the agreement in the state makes it any less of a model, making the case the spirit behind the deal is what matters.

“I think copying and pasting Utah’s law doesn’t work for lots of reasons,” Wililams said. “What’s most important is a model of collaboration because when you are sitting around the table with each other — Democrats and Republicans, LGBTQ people and people of faith — that’s when the transformation happens. That is when the mutual respect is really forged.”

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Venezuelan man with AIDS dies in ICE custody

Pablo Sánchez Gotopo passed away at Miss. hospital on Oct. 1



Pablo Sanchez Gotopo, who was living with HIV/AIDS, died in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody in Mississippi on Oct. 1, 2021. (Courtesy photo)

A Venezuelan man with AIDS died in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody on Oct. 1.

An ICE press release notes Pablo Sánchez Gotopo, 40, died at Merit Health River Oaks in Flowood, Miss., which is a suburb of Jackson, the state capital. The press release notes the “preliminary cause of death was from complications with acute respiratory failure, Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), pneumonia, acute kidney failure, anemia and COVID-19.”

ICE said U.S. Border Patrol took Sánchez into custody near Del Rio, Texas, on May 17. He arrived at the Adams County Detention Center in Natchez, Miss., four days later.

“Upon arrival to an ICE facility, all detainees are medically screened and administered a COVID-19 test by ICE Health Service Corps (IHSC) personnel,” said ICE in its press release. “Sánchez’s test results came back negative.”

The press release notes Sánchez on July 28 received another COVID-19 test after he “began showing symptoms of COVID-19.” ICE said he tested negative, but Adams County Detention Center personnel transferred him to a Natchez hospital “for additional advanced medical care.”

ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations staff in its New Orleans Field Office, according to the press release, “coordinated with hospital staff to arrange family visitation” after Sánchez’s “health condition deteriorated.” Sánchez was transferred to Merit Health River Oaks on Sept. 25.

“ICE is firmly committed to the health and welfare of all those in its custody and is undertaking a comprehensive agency-wide review of this incident, as it does in all such cases,” says the press release.

Venezuela’s political and economic crises have prompted more than 10,000 people with HIV to leave the country, according to the New York-based Aid for AIDS International.

Activists and health care service providers in Venezuela with whom the Washington Blade has spoken in recent years have said people with HIV/AIDS in the country have died because of a lack of antiretroviral drugs. Andrés Cardona, director of Fundación Ancla, a group in the Colombian city of Medellín that works with migrants and other vulnerable groups, told the Blade last month that many Venezuelans with HIV would have died if they hadn’t come to Colombia.

The Blade has not been able to verify a Venezuelan activist’s claim that Sánchez was gay. It is also not known why Sánchez decided to leave Venezuela and travel to the U.S.

ICE detainee with HIV described Miss. detention center as ‘not safe’

Activists and members of Congress continue to demand ICE release people with HIV/AIDS in their custody amid reports they don’t have adequate access to medications and other necessary medical treatment.

Two trans women with HIV—Victoria Arellano from Mexico and Roxsana Hernández from Honduras—died in ICE custody in 2007 and 2018 respectively. Johana “Joa” Medina Leon, a trans woman with HIV who fled El Salvador, died in 2019, three days after ICE released her from a privately-run detention center.

The Blade in July 2020 interviewed a person with HIV who was in ICE custody at the Adams County Detention Center. The detainee said there was no social distancing at the privately-run facility and personnel were not doing enough to prevent COVID-19 from spreading.

“It’s not safe,” they told the Blade.

The entrance to the Adams County Detention Center in Natchez, Miss. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

Elisabeth Grant-Gibson, a Natchez resident who supports ICE detainees and their families, on Wednesday told the Blade that she was able to visit the Adams County Detention Center and other ICE facilities in the Miss Lou Region of Mississippi and Louisiana from November 2019 until the suspension of in-person visitation in March 2020 because of the pandemic.

“Medical neglect and refusal of medical care has always been an issue in the detention center at Adams County,” said Grant-Gibson. “After the facilities were closed to public visitation, those problems increased.”

Grant-Gibson told the Blade she “worked with a number of families and received phone calls from a number of detainees, and I was told again and again that detainees were being refused the opportunity to visit the infirmary.”

“When they did visit the infirmary, they were given virtually no treatment for the issues they were presenting with,” said Grant-Gibson.

ICE in its press release that announced Sánchez’s death said fatalities among its detainees, “statistically, are exceedingly rare and occur at a fraction of the national average for the U.S. detained population.” ICE also noted it spends more than $315 million a year “on the spectrum of healthcare services provided to detainees.”

“ICE’s Health Service Corps (IHSC) ensures the provision of necessary medical care services as required by ICE Performance-Based National Detention Standards and based on the medical needs of the detainee,” notes the ICE press release. “Comprehensive medical care is provided from the moment detainees arrive and throughout the entirety of their stay. All ICE detainees receive medical, dental, and mental health intake screening within 12 hours of arriving at each detention facility, a full health assessment within 14 days of entering ICE custody or arrival at a facility, and access to daily sick call and 24-hour emergency care.”

An ICE spokesperson on Wednesday pointed the Blade to its Performance-Based Detention Standards from 2011, which includes policies for the treatment of detainees with HIV/AIDS.

A detainee “may request HIV testing at any time during detention” and ICE detention centers “shall develop a written plan to ensure the highest degree of confidentiality regarding HIV status and medical condition.” The policy also states that “staff training must emphasize the need for confidentiality, and procedures must be in place to limit access to health records to only authorized individuals and only when necessary.”

“The accurate diagnosis and medical management of HIV infection among detainees shall be promoted,” reads the policy. “An HIV diagnosis may be made only by a licensed health care provider, based on a medical history, current clinical evaluation of signs and symptoms and laboratory studies.”

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Rachel Levine on becoming four-star admiral: ‘It comes from my desire to serve’

Trans official sworn-in to U.S. Public Health Service



For Rachel Levine, the appointment to her new role as a four-star admiral complementing her existing duties as assistant secretary for health is another way for the first openly transgender Senate-confirmed presidential appointee to serve.

“I think that this just really comes from my desire to serve in all capacities,” Levine said in an interview Tuesday with the Washington Blade. “To serve the first day in my field of academic medicine and pediatrics, but then in Pennsylvania and now in the federal government, and it furthers my ability to do that.”

Levine, 63, also recognized the importance of the appointment as a transgender person within the U.S. Public Health Service, for which she was ceremonially sworn in on Tuesday

“I think for the LGBTQ+ community, it is a further sign of progress and our president’s commitment to equity, to inclusion and diversity,” Levine said. “So I think that it is a very important milestone, and I’m pleased to serve.”

As part of her duties, Levine will lead an estimated 6,000 public health service officers serving vulnerable populations, including deployments inside and outside the country for communities beleaguered with the coronavirus, according to the Department of Health & Human Services. The role involves working closely with U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murphy, whom Levine called her “friend and colleague.”

The U.S. Public Health Service, Levine said, has deployed “many, many times,” including its greatest number ever of deployments to vulnerable populations during the coronavirus pandemic. Among the places the service has deployed, Levine said, was in her home state of Pennsylvania, where she recently served as secretary of health.

Not only is Levine the first openly transgender person to serve in the uniformed health service as a four-star general, but she’s also the first woman to serve in that capacity.

“We have 6,000 dedicated committed public servants really all focused on our nation’s health, and they serve in details to the CDC and the FDA and the NIH, but also clinically with the Indian Health Service, and the federal prison system,” Levine said. “They’re also detailed and deployed throughout the country, and they deployed like never before for COVID-19 as well as the border, as well as dealing with floods and hurricanes and tornadoes.”

Although the Public Health Service is primarily focused on addressing public health disasters within the United States, Levine said it has a record of deployments overseas, including years ago when it was deployed to Africa under the threat of Ebola.

Secretary of Health & Human Services Xavier Becerra had high praise for Levine in a statement upon news of taking on a leadership position in the service.

“This is a proud moment for us at HHS,” Becerra said. “Adm. Levine — a highly accomplished pediatrician who helps drive our agency’s agenda to boost health access and equity and to strengthen behavioral health — is a cherished and critical partner in our work to build a healthier America.”

Levine, however, was careful to draw a distinction between her appointment within the Public Health Service and being a service member within the U.S. armed forces.

“It is not a military branch, it’s not the armed forces: It’s a uniformed force, so it’s different,” Levine said. “For example, the Army, the Navy, our military, there are two other uniformed branches, and that is ours, the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps and NOAA.”

The new role, Levine said, would complement her duties as assistant secretary for health. Although not only secretaries of health have been commissioned to take the uniform, Levine said she wanted to undertake that as part of her role in the Biden administration.

The two appointments were not simultaneous, Levine said, because of a general process she undertook, which was completed just this week.

It hasn’t been an easy road for Levine. During her Senate confirmation process, when she was hounded by anti-transgender attacks in conservative media and rude, invasive questioning by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on her gender identity.

Levine, however, said she hasn’t encountered any hostility regarding her new role (as of now) and shrugged off any potential attacks in the future and said the move is about her career “to serve and to help people.”

“I’ve continued that for our nation as the assistant secretary for health and this is just a further demonstration of my commitment to service,” Levine said. “I don’t know what others will say, but that’s the genesis of my wanting to serve in the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, and to place on the uniform.”

Levine’s new appointment comes shortly after a group of Democratic senators led by Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) sent her a letter dated Sept. 30 calling on her and Miriam Delphin-Rittmon, assistant secretary for mental health and substance use, to issue new guidance for hospital or residential care on mental health needs of transgender people.

Asked about the letter, Levine said mental health issues are under the authority of Delphin-Rittmon and the two “will work together and we will respond.”

Specifically, the senators in the letter call on the Behavioral Health Coordinating Council, or BHCC, and experts in the field of adolescent trans care to offer guidance on best practices for inpatient mental health care among these youth.

Asked what the response will look like, Levine said, “We’re going to work on that.”

“We will be looking at what they’re asking for and the requirements, and we’ll talk with them and the stakeholders and we’ll look to issue appropriate guidance,” Levine said.

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