Assistant Secretary of Health Rachel Levine, the highest-ranking transgender person in the U.S. government, claimed during a recent interview with NPR that “there is no argument” about “gender-affirming care” among pediatricians and doctors who specialize in adolescents.
Levine made the comments ahead of a Saturday speech at Texas Christian University during which Levine blamed the high rate of suicidal ideation among transgender-identifying youth in part on “harassment, scapegoating and intentional abuse,” according to prepared remarks given to NPR.
“The language of medicine and science is being used to drive people to suicide,” Levine also claimed.
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“There is no argument among medical professionals – pediatricians, pediatric endocrinologists, adolescent medicine physicians, adolescent psychiatrists, psychologists, etc. – about the value and the importance of gender-affirming care,” Levine told NPR.
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According to definitions laid out in a fact sheet from Levine’s Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in March, “gender-affirming care” includes social affirmation at any age, puberty blockers during puberty and hormone therapy starting during early adolescence. Irreversible surgery is “typically used in adulthood or case-by-case basis in adolescence,” according to the agency.
Rachel Levine, nominee for Assistant Secretary in the Department of Health and Human Services, testifies at a confirmation hearing before the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee Feb. 25, 2021, on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.
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In response to the HHS fact sheet, Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo released a different fact sheet refuting the claims of the HHS regarding the treatment of minors with gender dysphoria.
Citing a “lack of conclusive evidence, and the potential for long-term, irreversible effects,” the Florida Department of Health advised against social transition, puberty blockers, hormones and surgery as treatment options for children and adolescents.
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Levine dismissed the Florida guidance as “based upon political considerations” and “not appropriate.”
“We need to stand against that both from a medical and public health point of view,” Levine said.