Spectrum News 1: Thoughts on Historic Nomination of Transgender Physician
In January, President Joe Biden announced his nomination of Dr. Rachel Levine to be his assistant secretary of health. If confirmed, Dr. Levine would become the first openly transgender person to be confirmed by the United States Senate. She would also be the highest ranking transgender person in the U.S. government.
So what does this nomination mean to the transgender and non-binary community, one that tends to face barriers to healthcare and employment due to discrimination?
Michelle Hoffman, DO, is an Ob/Gyn resident physician at OhioHealth. They are also non-binary, using they/them pronouns. Dr. Hoffman said this representation is very important for the country to see.
"70 or 80 percent of people admit to not knowing a transgender person in real life. Which is huge," said Dr. Hoffman. "It's my opportunity (as a physician) to be that person for people, to say 'hey, I'm normal.' And this is why this (nomination) matters. To hopefully change some opinions and if they can change the opinons of their friends, it's sort of that ripple effect."
The hope is that seeing Dr. Levine's nomination will serve as a beacon for others.
"Kids don't dream of becoming something that they can't see," said Dr. Hoffman. "Now there will hopefully be a role model for so many trans kids, like you can literally do anything. And for the people who are cisgendered or know nothing about the trans community or maybe had negative opinions initally will see a normal, awesome person. And that maybe the transgender part doesn't matter that much when it comes to doing your job."
To learn more about OhioHealth's healthcare services for the LGBTQ+ community, click here.