Rand Paul Goes Transphobic During Senate Hearing

Left to right - Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Pennsylvania Surgeon General Dr. Rachel Levine
Left to right - Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Pennsylvania Surgeon General Dr. Rachel Levine
L-R Sen. Rand Paul, Dr. Rachel Levine (screen captures)

During a joint hearing of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee held today to confirm Surgeon General Nominee Dr. Vivek Murphy and Dr. Levine, most questions were focused on the issue of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

But Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) – who is also a self-certified ophthalmologist – came prepared with an unhinged transphobic rant which seemed to catch everyone by surprise including Dr. Levine, who is transgender.

Levine, currently the Secretary of Health for Pennsylvania, is President Biden’s nominee for assistant secretary of health. The position oversees the department’s key public health offices, several presidential and secretarial advisory committees, 10 regional health offices across the nation, the Office of the Surgeon General, and the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps.

In addition to being the Keystone State’s Health Secretary, Levine has amassed a lengthy resume in the field of health care which includes being a professor of pediatrics and psychiatry at the Penn State College of Medicine. It’s worth noting that Levine has been confirmed three times by the Republican-controlled state Senate of Pennsylvania.

“Genital mutilation has been condemned by the WHO, the United Nations Children’s Fund, the United Nations Population Fund,” said Paul reading from a prepared statement.

He continued stating that such medical procedures are “nearly always carried out on minors and is a violation of the rights of children.”

The senator seemed to be conflating bottom surgery with castration and female circumcision, which is performed on children in some countries around the world.

Minors being treated for gender dysphoria almost never have bottom surgery. Instead, they are given puberty blockers which allows trans youth time to consider, weigh and explore who they are before teen hormones can permanently change their bodies.

Paul attacked the use of such puberty blockers citing the American College of Pediatricians. That might have sounded like a legit reference except the organization has been designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center for promoting anti-LGBTQ bias.

The name is intended to be misleading as it is often confused with the American Pediatric Association, the actual recognized organization of pediatric physicians. That group advises parents of trans kids to “listen, respect and support their child’s self-expressed identity.”

Levine showed admirable composure during Paul’s lengthy tirade.

“Transgender medicine is a very complex, and nuanced field,” Levine said. “And if confirmed to the as assistant Secretary of Health, I would certainly be pleased to come to your office and talk with you and your staff about the standards of care and the complexity of this field.”

For the record, Dr. Levine never endorsed the idea of government overriding the involvement of parents being involved in their children’s health care issues.

Sen. Patty Murray, chair of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions, clapped back at Paul asking him to treat nominees before the committee with respect.

“It is really critical to me that our nominees be treated with respect and that our questions focus on their qualifications and the work ahead of us, rather than ideological and harmful misrepresentations like those who heard from Sen. Paul earlier,” Murray said.

Today’s hearing marked the first time an openly transgender person has sat for Senate confirmation for a presidential appointment.

Podcast: Neighborhood Stands By Gay Family; Trump Administration Boots HIV+ Soldiers; High School Asst Principal Harasses Trans Student In Bathroom

In this week’s podcast:

• A neighborhood stands by their gay neighbors after the theft of a rainbow flag

• The Trump administration has begun kicking HIV+ soldiers out of the US military

• Ohio Gov. John Kasich did something no other Republican governor has done

• The world celebrates the 200th anniversary of ‘Silent Night’

All that and more on this episode of The Randy Report

Asst Principal Bullies Trans Student In Bathroom “If You Can’t Use This Urinal, You Shouldn’t Be In Here”

(image via Depositphotos)

An assistant principal at a West Virginia high school has been suspended after a complaint was filed alleging he had bullied a transgender male student in a bathroom.

Late last month, before boarding a bus for an after-school marching band trip, 15-year-old Michael Critchfield went to the boys bathroom and asked if anyone was present before entering a stall. As a trans boy, he had made a habit of checking to avoid potential confrontations.

Critchfield and his parents have been open with the school administration, since he began attending as a freshman last year, that he is transgender.

According to Critchfield, Liberty High School assistant principal Lee Livengood entered the bathroom and began harassing the student from outside the stall.

Critchfield says Livengood yelled, “Why are you in here? You shouldn’t be in here.”

Livengood reportedly misgendered Critchfield continually and ordered him to “come out here and use the urinal” to prove he was a boy.

“If you can’t use this urinal, then you shouldn’t be in here,” Livengood yelled, according to Critchfield. “What if a student said you were checking them out in here?”

Critchfield later told the ACLU of West Virginia he felt “degraded and discriminated against.”

According to The Huffington Post, other students could hear the screaming coming from the bathroom and alerted a parent who was acting as a chaperone that day.

The chaperone confronted the assistant principal outside the bathroom where Livengood allegedly admitted in front of Critchfield, “Not going to lie. You freak me out.”

When Caroline Critchfield picked up her son later that day, she found Michael terrified and traumatized.

The mother addressed the issue with Liberty High School administrators the next day where she was told Livengood would not have any further contact with her son and that an investigation would be launched into the matter.

But after several weeks, no update was forthcoming from the administration.

Additionally, Livengood would reportedly station himself in the cafeteria during Michael’s lunch period, which he hadn’t done before.

The family reached out to the American Civil Liberties Union of West Virginia for help regarding the incident.

‘It shocks the conscience that they’ve apparently taken no steps to discipline Mr. Livengood on this,’ ACLU-WV Executive Director Joseph Cohen told The Daily Beast.

After sending a letter to the superintendent of Harrison County Schools, Dr. Mark A. Manchin, requesting a meeting about the altercation, neither the Critchfields nor the ACLU received a response.

That is, until the media began reporting on the incident.

On Tuesday this week, Manchin told local media that Livengood would be suspended without pay until 2019.

“I was able to confirm the interaction with Mr. Livengood and that indeed he acted inappropriately,” Manchin told West Virginia MetroNews. “We need to address it and we will address it.”

With the Christmas holiday next week, that suspension ‘without pay until 2019′ amounts for four days.

“While we are heartened to hear the administration admit to wrongdoing, a four day paid suspension of an employee is not sufficient,” Cohen said in a public statement. “The Harrison County School District needs to make significant changes to its culture.”

Cohen’s statement continued, “We look forward to meeting with Mr. Manchin and developing a real plan to ensure that every student is safe.”

Cohen also underscored how the issue of harassment of transgender teens is literally a life or death issue as the American Academy of Pediatrics published a study earlier this year indicating 51 percent of trans male adolescents had attempted suicide.