Transgender Doctor, Dr. Rachel Levine, Nominated for Physician General of Pennsylvania

Our New York employment attorneys have been fascinated by the implications of a political appointment in neighboring Pennsylvania. The state’s new governor, Tom Wolf, a self-identified progressive, has nominated a transgender woman, Dr. Rachel Levine, to be the state’s Physician General. Dr. Levine has identified herself as a woman for 5 years.

Dr. Levine recently spoke with reporters at the Washington Blade about her career. Administrators at Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center have been supportive of her transition; and the hospital has established clear and effective policies to prevent discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender expression.

As Physician General for Pennsylvania, Dr. Levine will oversee critical health initiatives and policy work for the state as well as continue her work as a private physician. She’ll serve in an advisory capacity for the Secretary of the Department of Health and for the governor. At Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, Dr. Levine serves as the chief of the Division of Adolescent Medicine and Eating Disorders and the vice chairwoman for Clinical Affairs for the Department of Pediatrics.

Dr. Levine’s appointment is welcome news both for the LGBT community and for civil society as a whole. Social psychology studies that have probed the root causes of discriminatory attitudes suggest that “lack of familiarity” with certain groups of people can lead to negative attitudes about those people, hostility and stereotyping. Over the past fifteen years, our country has made enormous strides when it comes to accepting and understanding LGBT Americans – although we have an enormous way to go – in part because we’ve collectively become more culturally familiar with LGBT.

Dr. Levine’s ascension to a position of prominence in the medical community will hopefully catalyze more productive conversations and ultimately help to reshape our culture and curtail gender based discrimination at the workplace. Fortunately, NYC and New York State have among the strongest legal protections for transgender individuals in the country.

If you need assistance with a harassment, discrimination or wage and hour case from a qualified and experienced New York employment law firm, call Joseph & Kirschenbaum LLP today at 1 (212) 688-5640, or email us at info@jhllp.com.