Biden taps transgender woman Rachel Levine for assistant secretary of health

JOE Biden has nominated a transgender woman to become his assistant health secretary – a first in the history of the US government.

Pennsylvania Health Secretary Rachel Levine will become the first openly transgender federal official to be confirmed by the US Senate when Biden takes office this week.

The President-Elect said in a statement: "Dr. Rachel Levine will bring the steady leadership and essential expertise we need to get people through this pandemic — no matter their zip code, race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability — and meet the public health needs of our country in this critical moment and beyond.

"She is a historic and deeply qualified choice to help lead our administration’s health efforts.”

Dr Levine -president of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials – has written texts on the opioid crisis, medical marijuana, adolescent medicine, eating disorders and LGBTQ medicine.

Levine joins Biden's Health and Human Services secretary nominee Xavier Becerra, who has served in Congress and as California’s attorney general.

The news comes as Joe Biden prepares to roll out his $1.9trillion coronavirus action plan.

The virus has so far claimed the lives of 400,000 people in the US.

It follows Biden primising to appoint a cabinet that "looks like America" – and pledged a long list of LGBTQ police pledges.

They include scrapping Donald Trump's ban on transgender military recruits to passing an anti-discrimination law.

And in another first, he also nominated former Democratic presidential rival Pete Buttigieg as the first openly gay cabinet secretary, at the Transport Department.

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