USA Today names Rachel Levine — a man — among its 'Women of the Year'

Rachel Levine, a trans-identified nominee for Assistant Secretary in the Department of Health and Human Services, testifies at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee on February 25, 2021, on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. Levine previously served as Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Health. | Caroline Brehman-Pool/Getty Images

Trans-identified Biden administration official, Dr. Rachel Levine, formerly known as Richard, has been named among USA Today's “Women of the Year.” 

The national publication included Levine, who serves as assistant secretary of health at the U.S. Department of Health, as one of its “Women of the Year.” The full list of USA Today’s Women of the Year, released Monday, honors “strong and resilient women who have been champions of change across the country, leading and inspiring as they promote and fight for equity, and give others a place to seek help and find hope.”

Suzette Hackney, USA Today’s deputy opinion editor and national columnist, interviewed Levine, a man who identifies as trans, as part of a profile on the cabinet member she described as “the nation’s highest-ranking openly transgender official.” In addition to serving as the assistant secretary of health, Levine leads the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, which Hackney characterized as “a group of 6,000 uniformed public health officers.”

Additionally, the Department of Health and Human Services, the agency that Levine works for, included him on a panel titled, “A Conversation With HHS Women Leaders to Celebrate Women’s History Month.”

Levine’s recognition among USA Today’s Women of the Year and inclusion on a panel featuring “women leaders” comes as the U.S. is engaged in a debate about whether recognizing men who identify as women puts biological females at an unfair disadvantage.

When Levine became the first trans-identified four-star officer to serve in the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy contended that Levine had also become “the first female four-star officer to serve in the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps.” This did not sit well with Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind.

In response to Murthy’s assertion, Banks remarked on Twitter, “Calling someone that was born and lived as a man for 54 years the first ‘female’ four-star officer is an insult to every little girl who dreams of breaking glass ceilings one day.”

Banks had his Twitter account suspended for a separate tweet he sent out lamenting that “the title of first female four-star officer gets taken by a man.” The social media company cited Banks’ tweet as a violation of its hateful conduct policy, which prohibits tweets that engage in “misgendering or deadnaming of transgender individuals.”

Concerns about assigning the “female” label to men who identify as female extend beyond Levine into women’s athletics. Lia Thomas, a man formerly known as Will Thomas, competes on the women’s swimming team at the University of Pennsylvania. Since joining the team, he's shattered women’s swimming records throughout this past season.

Thomas’ strong performance, especially compared with the athlete’s mediocre performance when previously competing on the men’s swimming team, is reinforcing concerns that the biological differences between men and women give biological males an unfair advantage over their biologically female counterparts in athletics.

Abigail Shrier, who has written extensively about the impact of the rush to “affirm” the chosen gender identities of youth suffering from gender dysphoria, recently weighed in on Thomas’ record-breaking performances.

Shrier suggested that informing someone who has been in a coma for 20 years that “America’s top women swimmer has a penis” would be “the hardest thing to explain to them” if they were to wake up in 2022, she posted on Twitter. In addition to concerns about women’s athletics, critics of trans-policies believe they pose a threat to the safety of biological women.

Specifically, Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling warned of the implications of a Scottish bill that would change the process for obtaining a Gender Recognition Certificate, which claims it “legally recognizes that a person’s gender is not the gender they were assigned at birth, but is their ‘acquired’ gender.’” The legislation would require any Scottish resident who is at least 16 years old and has lived in their “acquired gender” for at least three months to obtain a Gender Recognition Certificate.

Rowling retweeted a post shared by a self-described “leftie” and “radical feminist” from Australia testifying that “Men are self-identifying into female sexual assault recovery services” in her city of Melbourne, which has embraced a similar “self ID” policy. The author insisted that the law will “harm the most vulnerable women in society: those seeking help after male violence/rape and incarcerated women.”

For the most part, USA Today’s profile of Levine focused on the doctor’s career, influences and interests. However, the publication did ask Levine to provide advice to “transgender, nonconforming or questioning people.”

Levine told USA Today that “you have to be true to yourself and I think that you have to be who you are,” adding, “You have tremendous worth just for who you are, no matter who you love, no matter who you are, no matter what your gender identity, sexual orientation or anything else, and to be, be true to that.”

Other honorees on USA Today's Women of the Year list include Vice President Kamala Harris, philanthropist Melinda Gates and Olympic athlete Simone Biles.

Ryan Foley is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be reached at:

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