Widespread outrage has erupted online following a virulently transphobic rant by Republican Senator Rand Paul during the confirmation hearings for Dr. Rachel Levine, Democratic President Joe Biden's nominee for assistant secretary of health.
If confirmed, Levine will be the first openly transgender cabinet secretary in American history.
In his openly hostile questioning of Levine, Paul likened gender confirmation surgery to genital mutilation and quoted fake statistics from an anti-trans hate group.
Exchange between Sen. @RandPaul and Dr. Rachel Levine on on Gender Transition. https://t.co/uL0zPTAmke— CSPAN (@CSPAN)1614276327.0
The hearing, held by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, focused primary on questions pertaining to the pandemic.
But when it came time for Senator Paul to question Dr. Levine, who is the current surgeon general of Pennsylvania, he shifted focus entirely to objections to transgender medical treatments for children.
Paul repeatedly conflated such treatments with genital mutilation, speaking as if the two things were one and the same.
"Genital mutilation has been nearly universally condemned... by the WHO, the United Nations Children's Fund, the United Nations Population Fund.... [I]t is nearly always carried out on minors and is a violation of the rights of children."
Left out of Paul's analysis is that such gender-confirmation surgical procedures are virtually unheard of for children and minors.
Rather, children are typically prescribed medications called puberty blockers, which delay the onset of permanent changes to children's bodies so that they have more time to decide upon their gender identity. Paul, of course, objects to this practice too.
He claimed the drugs are not approved for such treatments, their outcomes are irreversible and that there are no studies on their effects, all of which are patently false.
Paul also claimed "80 to 90 percent" of children with gender dysphoria experience "resolution," an anti-trans euphemism for ceasing to be transgender, which is also entirely false.
In support of these bogus claims, Paul cited the American College of Pediatricians, an official-sounding organization that has been deemed a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
It is frequently confused with the American Academy of Pediatrics, the actual professional organization for pediatricians which affirms the science behind the transgender healthcare practices to which Paul objected.
After doling out these falsehoods, Paul repeatedly attempted to entrap Dr. Levine with leading questions like:
"Do you support the government intervening to override the parents' consent to give a child puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and/or amputation of breasts and genitalia?"
Despite seeming shocked by Paul's vicious tirade, Dr. Levine refused to take his bait.
She simply responded:
"Transgender medicine is a very complex and nuanced field with robust research and standards of care that have been developed. I will look forward to working with you and your office and coming to your office to discuss the particulars of the standards of care for transgender medicine."
On Twitter, people were outraged by Paul's lies and attacks upon Dr. Levine.
A few things: 1. There are no young trans children taking hormones or receiving medical intervention. This is not… https://t.co/4stV3q6OAr— Charlotte Clymer 🏳️🌈 (@Charlotte Clymer 🏳️🌈)1614275542.0
Rand Paul just went on an unhinged transphobic rant when questioning Dr. Rachel Levine, who is transgender. It's a… https://t.co/Vk428hQQ0E— Nick Jack Pappas (@Nick Jack Pappas)1614277061.0
Rand Paul owes a formal apology to Dr. Rachel Levine and to the LGBTQ community.— Palmer Report (@Palmer Report)1614279803.0
The type of questions that Dr. Rachel Levine faced today from Sen. Rand Paul is totally uncalled for. He should be… https://t.co/40k8M0CynU— Dwight Evans (@Dwight Evans)1614284718.0
Kentucky Senator Rand Paul's dangerous & transphobic questioning of Dr. Rachel Levine (a transgender woman who is B… https://t.co/itprahVmL1— Jake Lobin (@Jake Lobin)1614275847.0
Rand Paul decides to lecture the first transgender nominee, Dr. Rachel Levine, about sexual re-assignment surgery a… https://t.co/QAaUrMQUD5— Amee Vanderpool (@Amee Vanderpool)1614303360.0
Rand Paul's transphobic questioning of Dr. Rachel Levine this morning is why we need the #EqualityAct.— Victoria Brownworth (@Victoria Brownworth)1614271268.0
Rand Paul equating "gender mutilation" to transition surgery gives oxygen to transphobic narratives. And it's a na… https://t.co/RPxUPxG2Nk— Jake Lobin (@Jake Lobin)1614277677.0
I watched the clip of Rand Paul's questioning of Dr. Rachel Levine, the first transgender person to seek Senate con… https://t.co/2DcE4IYuuc— Mona Eltahawy (@Mona Eltahawy)1614287304.0
Later in the hearing, Democratic Senator Patty Murray thanked Levine for her patience and professionalism and rebuked Senator Paul, calling the content of his questioning of Levine "ideological and harmful misrepresentations."