By: KDKA-TV News Staff
HARRISBURG, Pa. (KDKA) — A senior legal advisor to President Donald Trump’s campaign knowingly misgendered Pennsylvania Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine on Twitter.
Jenna Ellis attacked Dr. Levine, saying, “This guy is making decisions about your health” on her verified Twitter account Monday. The article shared by Ellis was published May 13 and was about Pittsburgh radio host Marty Griffin, who called Levine “sir” multiple times during a press call.
This guy is making decisions about your health.https://t.co/gaqGBbXbOC
— Jenna Ellis (@JennaEllisEsq) August 10, 2020
Governor Tom Wolf came to Dr. Levine’s defense on Monday, saying misgendering is “hate speech.”
“To @JennaEllisEsq and whoever else needs to hear this: Misgendering a transgender person is hate speech and it’s unacceptable,” Wolf said on his verified Twitter account.
To @JennaEllisEsq and whoever else needs to hear this: Misgendering a transgender person is hate speech and it’s unacceptable.
— Governor Tom Wolf (@GovernorTomWolf) August 10, 2020
Alphonso David, president of the Humane Rights Campaign, also released a statement following Ellis’ attack.
“Jenna Ellis is a bigot and Dr. Levine is a patriot – plain and simple. Dr. Levine illustrates character and patriotism while Ellis cannot even define those terms.
“Using a person’s pronouns is a basic level of respect. Despite claims of allyship, Donald Trump, Mike Pence and their staff have gone out of their way to dehumanize and attack transgender and non-binary people simply for existing. Trump and his allies have refused to acknowledge the epidemic of violence transgender and gender non-conforming people face, attempted to strip away their access to health care, and blocked these patriotic Americans from openly serving in the military.
“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Levine has steered Pennsylvania through this crisis leading efforts to reduce the spread of the virus and keep Pennsylvanians safe and healthy. Our nation has and should continue to laud the frontline workers and public servants confronting this pandemic, not attack them simply for living their truth.”
Levine has been a common target for attacks in the last couple of months.
The Bloomsburg Fair was criticized as transphobic for having a Dr. Levine impersonator. The fair posted a photo of a man in a dunk tank who had donned a blond wig, floral-print dress and glasses. The dunk tank was part of a weekend carnival held on the fairgrounds to benefit the region’s volunteer fire departments.
“Dr. Levine? Thank you you were a hit and raised a lot of money for the local fire companies. Wonder why so many were trying to dunk you,” said the Bloomsburg Fair Association’s post, which included a smiley-face emoji.
In June, Scott Township Commissioner Paul Abel resigned after making a disrespectful statement toward Dr. Levine.
“I’m tired of listening to a guy dressed up like a woman,” said Abel after asking Commissioner Angela Wateska about the “green” phase and what comes after that.
Dr. Levine, a transgender woman, responded last month to transphobic remarks and depictions of her that she says are harmful to the larger LGBTQ community.
“I feel that I must personally respond to the multiple incidents of LGBTQ harassment and specifically transphobia directed at me that have been reported in the press. I would first like to sincerely thank Governor Wolf for his continued support and for his comments last week. The LGBTQ community has made so much progress under Governor Wolf and his leadership during his time in office. But I want to emphasize, that while these individuals think that they are only expressing their displeasure with me, they are, in fact, hurting the thousands of LGBTQ Pennsylvanians who suffer directly from these current demonstrations of harassment. Your actions perpetuate the spirit of intolerance and discrimination against LGBTQ individuals and specifically transgender individuals,” Levine said during a press briefing.