A local Republican official is refusing to apologize for deadnaming and misgendering Pennsylvania Physician General Dr. Rachel Levine, who is leading the state’s fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
Instead, the Republican told Trib Live that people “just can’t appreciate humor anymore,” but he went on to say that he’s really mad at Dr. Levine for asking him to wear a mask.
This past Sunday, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) posted a Facebook message to celebrate Father’s Day.
In the comments, Trafford Borough Councilman Zack Cole wrote, “Happy Father’s Day to [deadname] Levine as well.” Trafford is a town of 3000 in western Pennsylvania.
Dr. Levine, who is transgender, was appointed to her position as the state’s top doctor in 2015 and was unanimously confirmed by the state senate. She is an expert in pediatrics and psychiatry and helped start a division at Penn State Hershey Medical Center for the care of teens with complex medical and psychosocial problems.
While Cole’s comment doesn’t appear to have anything to do with the COVID pandemic, he later posted on Facebook that he’s mad at being asked to wear a mask, which is why he misgendered and deadnamed Levine.
“This is not an apology,” Cole wrote in a Facebook post yesterday.
Cole complained that his “infant son” was “verbally attacked” by “left wing nut jobs” because he misgendered Dr. Levine, although he did not provide any details on the attack.
“I am angry at health secretary Levine due to mismanagement of the covid-19 pandemic,” he wrote. “I am angry I have been refused service for not wearing a mask, even though many sources say masks are unnecessary.”
“Most of all I am angry that Governor Tom Wolf and his regime have gone against the constitution, our senators, representatives, and Pennsylvanian voters who have said enough is enough.”
He did not explain how any of this was connected to misgendering Dr. Levine.
When reached for comment, the Pennsylvania Department of Health said that Dr. Levine doesn’t have the time to respond to Cole because she is “laser-focused on protecting the health and well-being of Pennsylvanians as we navigate this ongoing pandemic.”
This isn’t the first time state Republicans have attacked Dr. Levine because of her gender identity.
Scott Township Commissioner Paul Abel made anti-transgender comments about her in a council meeting held on Zoom on June 9 while discussing restrictions for the municipal pool.
“I tell you, I am tired of listening to a guy dressed up like a woman,” he said.
He later resigned “for his wife and family.”