Harrisburg, PA — Recently there have been an increasing number of negative public statements — most recently through a Bloomsburg Fair fundraising event — directed at Pennsylvania Department of Health’s Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine. The Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape denounces these personal attacks as transphobic and hate speech. We fully support Dr. Levine and all members of the transgender community.
Sexual harassment, abuse, and assault thrive when people devalue and disrespect others. To end these acts, we must work together to end the many forms of oppression—including homophobia, biphobia and transphobia—and replace those with values of equity, respect, mutuality, and consent.
The disrespectful language and attitudes directed at Dr. Levine have no place in public discourse and should be publicly acknowledged for the hate that it espouses. If we are to end sexual violence and have a civil society we must have a foundation of respect for one another.
The images and language that have been used on social media and in the public are blatantly offensive and cannot be dismissed as harmless humor. They send a message of disrespect, not only to Dr. Levine, but also to all transgender and non-binary people. They also send a message to the general public that it is permissible to ridicule people based on their gender identities. These actions are unacceptable and contribute to dehumanization, hatred, and violence toward others. It is done overtly and intentionally and cannot be dismissed as humor when it is at the expense of another person.
PCAR thanks Dr. Levine for her public service and continuing to be a positive community leader using her expertise, skill and integrity to help all Pennsylvanians.
About Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape (PCAR)
The Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape (PCAR) has worked to end sexual violence and advocate for the rights and needs of all victims from sexual abuse, harassment and assault since 1975. PCAR works with a network of 47 sexual assault centers to provide various free and confidential services to individuals in all 67 counties which include counseling, court accompaniment and legal support, as well as training and prevention education. This network of sexual assault centers provides services to an estimated 30,000 victims and family members on an annual basis. More information on the organization is available at www.pcar.org.