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Republican lawmaker places ‘thousands of LGBT+ people at risk’ after sharing cruel Dr Rachel Levine meme

Josh Milton January 22, 2021
Rachel Levine

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

Gay Pennsylvania representative Brian Sims has blasted fellow state lawmaker Jeffrey Pyle for sharing a transphobic meme about Rachel Levine.

According to a screen capture shared by the Democrat on Twitter, Pyle, a Republican veteran and decades-long member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, uploaded on his personal Facebook a meme that cruelly mocked Joe Biden‘s historic pick for a top administration role.

The since-deleted post featured a photograph of Levine with the caption: “American citizens express optimism and renewed hope as Benjamin Franklin joins Joe Biden’s cabinet.”

Republican’s ‘hatred’ puts trans people at ‘risk’ after ridiculing Rachel Levine, says Democrat

It was a potshot from Pyle, 56, against Levine, who for three years has been the secretary of health for Pennsylvania and led on the state’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

Her playbook of plain-speaking presentations and dutiful mask-wearing has earned praise from fellow officials and medical chiefs.

On Tuesday (19 January), then-president-elect Biden nominated her to lead the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Health, translating her state-level experience to overseeing the nation’s public health policy.

It was a seismic appointment, being that it placed Levine on the path to become the country’s first openly trans, Senate-confirmed federal official.

But Pyle, Sims sought to stress in a scathing Twitter thread, appeared more interested in deriding Levine than celebrating her as he called on top state Republicans to take action against the lawmaker, who represents the 60th district.

Sims wrote: “As co-chair of the LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus, I have conferred with my colleagues, members Caucus and the Democratic leadership, and all are in agreement that this discriminatory and dangerous behaviour by [Jeff Pyle] must be condemned by House Republican leadership.

Rachel Levine. (Bonnie Jo Mount/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

“Homophobia and transphobia have no place in the General Assembly or in our commonwealth.

“The kind of discrimination and hatred displayed by rep Pyle are a direct violation of the public trust afforded to him as a member of the General Assembly.

“By attacking sec Levine in this way, rep Pyle has perpetuated both transphobia and discrimination against the LGBT+ communities which have among the highest rates of civil rights violations and discrimination in the nation, often with deadly consequences.”

Pyle has, Sims continued, dragged the House “into dishonour and disrepute”.

Adding that until senior Republicans reprimand him, “he continues to place [Levine], and hundreds of thousands of LGBT+ people in the Commonwealth, at risk for further discrimination to attack.”

PinkNews reached out to a representative of Jeff Pyle for comment.

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More: brian sims, Jeff Pyle, Pennsylvania, Rachel Levine, Trans

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