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Statements by HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra and HHS Principals ahead of Transgender Day of Visibility

Statements by HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra and HHS Principals ahead of Transgender Day of Visibility
Statements by HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra and HHS Principals ahead of Transgender Day of Visibility

HHS raised the Transgender Pride Flag outside its headquarters today to commemorate Transgender Day of Visibility.

Today, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) raised the Transgender Pride Flag outside HHS headquarters for the third year in a row. HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra and other leaders from across the Department released the following statements ahead of Transgender Day of Visibility on March 31.

Xavier Becerra – HHS Secretary

“Today I am thinking about our country’s great transgender, nonbinary, and two-spirit leaders and trailblazers who epitomize resilience, progress, and joy. Transgender Day of Visibility is an opportunity to both celebrate their accomplishments and double down on our commitment to push the tides of progress forward.

Gender-affirming care saves lives. When trans Americans go to the doctor, they deserve the same treatment as any other patient. Stand up against discrimination, especially when it comes to transgender kids. There is no room for people being bullied for who they are. At the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, we show up for the LGBTQI+ community in meaningful ways. HHS has reinforced and clarified the rights of our transgender and nonbinary employees within our own workforce and made clear that HHS is a safe an inclusive place to work.

Our decisions to speak up or not in the face of injustice sends a message. It’s on all of us to teach the next generations love, not hate.”

Andrea Palm – HHS Deputy Secretary

“Today, on Transgender Day of Visibility, I am proud of the Biden-Harris Administration’s unwavering commitment to the march towards full equality for the LGBTQI+ community.

Here at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, we know that our work is enriched by the diversity of our staff. To all the LGBTQI+ scientists, doctors, social workers, researchers, caregivers, and colleagues across the health care and human services fields – thank you for making our communities healthier.”

Admiral Rachel L. Levine, MD – Assistant Secretary for Health

“Today marks Transgender Day of Visibility. Each year on March 31, we celebrate the transgender Americans, and all that they have accomplished. We honor the many contributions transgender Americans make in health, medicine, public service, and across our nation.

At the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, our mission is to improve the health and well-being of all Americans, including transgender Americans. From promoting access to high-quality care to addressing health disparities, to developing policies that improve reproductive health care to ensuring transgender youth have access to the 988 program counselors with professionals specially trained to work with them. Achieving health equity is our commitment. A commitment to all.

On this Transgender Day of Visibility, we must continue to make focused and ongoing efforts to end inequities, eliminate the impacts of injustice, and improve access to care for everyone. Today, and all days, I stand proud and visible with my fellow Transgender Americans. Happy Transgender Day of Visibility.”

Samuel R. Bagenstos – HHS General Counsel

“Transgender people have every right to live openly as themselves. On this Transgender Day of Visibility, we reaffirm that transgender people are full and equal members of our community. I am proud that the Office of the General Counsel has supported HHS’s work to protect against discrimination based on gender identity, to guarantee essential health and social services for trans people, and to stand strong against efforts to roll back these basic protections.”

Alison Barkoff – Principal Deputy Administrator, Administration for Community Living

“On Transgender Day of Visibility, we celebrate and lift up the voices of transgender and non-binary people in every community, including people with disabilities and older adults. At the Administration for Community Living, we are committed to advancing person-centered principles that affirm the unique identities and strengths of the people served by our programs, and to ensuring that no one is denied access to the services and supports they need to thrive in the community because of who they are.”

Chiquita Brooks-LaSure - Administrator, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

“The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) provides health care coverage to hundreds of millions of people, including many members of the LGBTQI+ community. Each and every person we serve deserves health equity – a fair and just opportunity for us all to attain optimal health. Transgender Day of Visibility marks the significant strides our country has made elevating the voices and experiences of trans and non-binary people. It’s also a reminder that this work remains ongoing, and CMS continues to strive towards health care coverage as a fundamental right, not a privilege.”

Robert M. Califf, M.D. – Commissioner, Food and Drug Administration

“This Transgender Day of Visibility – and everyday – we honor and celebrate the accomplishments and contributions of transgender and non-binary people. During a time when the human rights of transgender, non-binary, and gender expansive people are under attack, we stand in solidarity with and support the LGBTQI+ community.”

Mandy K. Cohen, MD, MPH – Director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s mission is to protect health and improve the lives of every person, in every community, across the country. We know that fostering supportive and inclusive communities and healthcare are critical to health and wellbeing. On Transgender Day of Visibility we are reminded of the importance of having data, expertise, and investments that support the health of our diverse communities across the country.”

Miriam E. Delphin-Rittmon, Ph.D. – Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use
“Today and every day we celebrate transgender and gender-expansive people and their voices. We see you, and we lift you up. We also acknowledge the crucial work still to be done. The injustice of disparities in access and discrimination within behavioral health care cannot continue to be part of the American healthcare story. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration is unwavering in our commitment to ensuring that transgender people receive the care they need, achieve well-being, and thrive.”

Melanie Fontes Rainer – Director, HHS Office for Civil Rights

“Today and every day, we celebrate the strength, vibrancy, and joy of the transgender community, who embody the fundamental values of America in the face of unacceptable levels of hate and vitriol. The HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR) reaffirms the Biden-Harris Administration's commitment to justice, equity, and inclusion for all transgender, gender nonconforming, and nonbinary persons and states unequivocally that health care is a human right that empowers our communities – personally, professionally, socially, and economically. OCR will do everything we can to ensure that every person has equal access health and human services, free from discrimination and regardless of gender identity or expression.”

Jeff Hild – Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Children and Families

“Over the last year, I have met with dozens of transgender children and their caregivers and parents as well as transgender parents and acted on their recommendations to improve the Administration for Children and Families programs and services to better support the health, well-being and thriving of transgender people and communities. On Transgender Day of Visibility, we want to reaffirm our commitment to listening, standing and supporting the well-being of all transgender people and communities including unaccompanied refugee children, runaway and homeless youth, foster children and all children served by our programs.”

Carole Johnson – Administrator, Health Resources and Services Administration

“At the Health Resources and Services Administration, we celebrate the many contributions of transgender people in communities across the country and acknowledge the need for ongoing efforts to ensure equitable access to vital health care services in the face of the disparities that continue to exist. On this Transgender Day of Visibility, we join with our colleagues across the Department in recommitting ourselves to advancing access to high-quality, culturally responsive care, treatment, and social services to support the transgender community.”

Vivek Murthy, MD – U.S. Surgeon General

“As a father, I hope every child grows up feeling loved and knowing how much they matter. But today, too many transgender youth are feeling the opposite. Let’s reaffirm our commitment to these children and their families on Transgender Day of Visibility.”

Dawn O’Connell – Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response

“Transgender Day of Visibility is an important moment to raise awareness and celebrate transgender people in the federal government and across the country. It’s also a powerful reminder of the importance of equity in disaster and public health responses, a core tenet of ASPR’s work on COVID-19, mpox, and countless other crises.”

Loyce Pace, MPH – Assistant Secretary for Global Affairs

“The Office of Global Affairs is proud to work in support of Trans visibility and rights around the world. From the halls of the World Health Organizations in Geneva to capitals around the world, this Administration will not back down from ensuring inequities are banished so people everywhere can flourish. It all starts with being seen."

Karen L. Parker, Ph.D. – Director of Sexual & Gender Minority Research Office, The National Institutes of Health

“Here at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), we are acutely aware of the lived experiences of transgender people and how violence, discrimination and erasure adversely impact health outcomes within gender diverse communities. We also know that health research as a whole is often lacking inclusion of these communities and their representation is often marred by inaccurate and limited data collection. In honor of Transgender Day of Visibility, NIH reaffirms its commitment to advancing the knowledge base and data collection of transgender individuals in health research, which is so vitally needed.”

Micky Tripathi, Ph.D. – National Coordinator for Health Information Technology

“All people, regardless of their expressed gender identity, deserve quality health care. That’s why the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT is working to support the LGBTQI+ community by standardizing the collection of data elements, such as gender identity, that are relevant to health care. Better, more accurate data will help us continue to close health disparities that currently exist.”

Roslyn Tso – Director, Indian Health Service

“To commemorate Transgender Day of Visibility 2024, the Indian Health Service proudly honors and supports our transgender relatives. Native American culture has inherited from our ancestors a long history of recognizing the beauty and contribution of all members of our communities. For this we are grateful to be able to uphold these traditional principles that make our communities so strong. We proudly embrace the remarkable diversity within our patients and staff, and our commitment to ensuring equitable access to healthcare services for all remains unwavering.”

Robert Otto Valdez, Ph.D., M.H.S.A. – Director, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

“Transgender Day of Visibility is an opportunity to affirm and support individuals who have too often been forced to hide their identity and been discriminated against or worse. It’s crucial to our mission at the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality that regardless of a person’s gender and sexuality that we support them in receiving safe, high-value, quality healthcare services. When we embrace that approach, we’re best able to respond to the health care needs of all people, and their family members, friends, and loved ones.”

Renee Wegrzyn, Ph.D. – Director, Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health

“Transgender individuals often face significant societal stigma and misconceptions. Transgender Day of Visibility helps to promote visibility, acceptance, and equality for transgender and gender non-conforming individuals while challenging stereotypes, advocating for their rights, and fostering a more inclusive society. It also encourages allies to show support and stand up against discrimination, fostering a more inclusive and supportive environment for transgender individuals. At the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health, we are committed to ensuring everyone is seen, valued, and supported. We stand in solidarity with transgender and gender non-conforming individuals as we work to accelerate better health outcomes for all.”


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