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Trailblazing trans health official Dr Rachel Levine calls for greater acceptance and unity to help defeat coronavirus

Emma Powys Maurice December 2, 2020
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Dr Rachel Levine

Dr Rachel Levine. (PinkNews)

Pennsylvania health secretary Dr Rachel Levine has called for unity in the United States and across the world as she accepted the PinkNews Award for Frontline Hero.

The trailblazing transgender official was honoured for her sheer strength and resilience in leading the effort against coronavirus despite constant abuse and misgendering in the media.

Levine said it was “such an honour” to receive the award alongside a fellow trans doctor, Kamilla Kamaruddin, who is also working to push the boundaries of healthcare.

“What this virus has certainly shown us is how interconnected we all are within the Unites States, but also globally,” Levine said. “It’s shown the true health disparities that can be present in a state like Pennsylvania but also in the United States.

“We know that this virus has impacted minority communities differently, which is why we are working to make improvements to the way we collect data, and data of course informs public health policy and decisions, it drives healthcare delivery and ultimately improves population health.”

She reiterated her coronavirus strategy which seeks to serve all Pennsylvanians, no matter their background.

“It does not matter where you live, your race, your sexual orientation or your gender identity – you are important,” she said.

“We need to foster a spirit of acceptance, but even more than that, a spirit of welcoming and celebration to everyone to create better healthcare outcomes for all.”

The award was presented by TV personality and NHS doctor Ranj Singh, who also honoured Kamaruddin for her work inspiring better healthcare for trans people in the UK over the past 20 years.

Accepting the award, Kamaruddin also paid tribute to Levine’s work and the struggles that she and many like her have faced in Trump’s America.

“I should also thank the many random acts of kindness from strangers that serve to rebuild and maintain our faith in humanity during difficult times,” she added, noting the many people who uplifted her during her transition.

She dedicated her award to all the trans people who have suffered in trying to get better access to healthcare.

The PinkNews Awards 2020 in association with Amazon are being held 2-4 December.

 

Related topics: Coronavirus, Dr Rachel Levine, dr ranj singh, PinkNews Awards

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