U.S Swears in first Transgender Four-Star Officer Dr. Rachel Levine

Bryan Dijkhuizen

On Tuesday, Dr. Rachel Levine, the nation's most senior transgender official, achieved yet another milestone in transgender history by becoming the first openly transgender four-star officer in any of the country's eight uniformed services.

"This is a momentous occasion, and I am honored to take this role for the impact I can make and for the historic nature of what it symbolizes," Levine said in a speech at her swearing-in ceremony. "I stand on the shoulders of those LGBTQ+ individuals who came before me, both those known and unknown. May this appointment today be the first of many more to come, as we create a diverse and more inclusive future."

As an admiral, Levine will be the highest-ranking official in the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, whose 6,000 uniformed officers are tasked with protecting the nation's public health.

Levine has served as the assistant secretary of health since 2011. Levine's appointment also made her the organization's first female four-star officer, a distinction she earned as a result of her appointment.

Previously serving as Pennsylvania's health secretary, Levine has been at the forefront of many public health initiatives, including those to fight the opioid crisis, reduce maternal mortality, and improve children's vaccination.

She is a graduate of Harvard College and Tulane Medicinal School, and she has published articles on topics such as medical marijuana and pediatrics.

According to Levine, she is pleased to be following in the footsteps of her father, who served in the Air Force during World War II, as well as other members of her family who have served their country in the military.

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