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Trans doctor who’s leading the fight against coronavirus and literally saving lives repeatedly misgendered by ignorant journalist

Josh Milton May 13, 2020
Rachel Levine

Dr Rachel Levine giving a live update on the coronavirus crisis in Pennsylvania (Facebook/Pennsylvania Department of Health)

Dr Rachel Levine, a trans doctor at the trying forefront of the coronavirus fight in Pittsburgh, US, was misgendered by a radio station journalist “multiple times” during a press call.

After being referred to as “sir” on several instances, according to  Pittsburgh City Paper transcript, health secretary Rachel Levine sharply rebuked KDKA Radio talk show host Marty Griffin.

“Please stop misgendering me,” she said, “it’s really insulting.” Griffin grovelled as he apologised: “It’s not malicious, I apologise, I’m so sorry.”

The incident led to Pittsburgh mayor Bill Peduto cancelling a scheduled appearance on the radio show.

Trans doctor misgendered repeatedly by reporter. 

Pennsylvania has begun its sluggish and nervous relaxation of lockdown measures that brought the state to a juddering halt earlier this year.

During a weekly media call with members of the Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association, members were given an opportunity to question Levine, a graduate of Harvard College and a specialist in paediatrics and adolescent medicine, directly.

Her informative daily briefings have made her the public face of the pandemic for many Pennsylvanians.

In beginning it’s yellow phase of gentle reopenings, Griffin grilled Levine over what the “end game”, or “green” phase will be, “correct me if I’m wrong, sir,” he said, the transcript showed, before pausing and saying: “Ma’am.”

After answering his question, Griffin hurled another at Levine, again, misgendering her as “sir”, forcing her to correct him.

Pittsburgh mayor cancels radio interview after Dr Rachel Levine is misgendered by reporter.  

After the call, backlash immediately began to bubble online.

Indeed, shock over Griffin’s patterned slew of misgendering the department leader reached boiling point when Peduto cancelled a scheduled interview on KDKA Radio.

He said on Twitter he refused to “support” the channel’s “behaviour”.

“Growing up, KDKA had good people who made us proud to be from Pittsburgh,” he continued.

“Now, it shock-jocks, sensationalism and worse.”

When asked by a Twitter user whether this concerned fellow KDKA reporter Wend Bell’s views – for wondering whether it was worth shutting the economy down to “save less than 1 per cent of our population” – he clarified: “No.

“There has been a constant pattern of diminishing the dignity of people, lowering the standards of debate and knowingly reporting without sources or confirmation.

“Today’s continued indignity put the station, over the top – in my opinion.”

A spokesperson ofr Peduto’s office later confirmed to Pittsburgh City Paper that Griffin’s misgendering was the main reason the mayor was cancelling the interview.

Griffin later responded to the ratcheting criticism by doubling down on his apology. He tweeted: “I apologise.

“I apologised twice. I truly did.

“It was not intentional. It was not. I was not focused. I was doing six things at once.”

More: Coroanvirus, COVID-19, Dr Rachel Levine, misgender, Pennsylvania, transphobia

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