Senator Brad Hoylman Calls for Dr. Rand Paul to be Held Accountable for Transphobic, Medically Inaccurate Remarks During Senate Confirmation Hearing of Dr. Rachel Levine

NEW YORK—Today, New York State Senator Brad Hoylman called for Dr. Rand Paul to be formally condemned by the American Academy of Ophthalmology over his transphobic and medically inaccurate remarks during the U.S. Senate confirmation hearing of Dr. Rachel Levine.

Dr. Paul, a trained ophthalmologist serving as one of Kentucky’s U.S. Senators, repeated debunked and medically inaccurate claims about gender identity and gender confirmation surgery during his questioning of Dr. Levine, who is set to become the first transgender person to serve in a Senate-confirmed job in the federal government.

Senator Hoylman said: “Dr. Rachel Levine is an American hero. Her efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19 have helped save lives in her home state of Pennsylvania, and her historic nomination to serve in the highest ranks of our federal government is an inspiration to every LGBTQ+ American.

“Yet despite Dr. Levine’s remarkable qualifications, she was forced to endure a bigoted line of questioning from Senator Rand Paul, who made comments clearly designed to undermine the dignity of transgender people. While Rand Paul was once a board-certified ophthalmologist, his comments during the hearing show he’s ignorant about science and medical practice.

“Dr. Paul’s comments weren’t just offensive—they’re dangerous. One in four transgender adults report they do not seek medical care for fear of discrimination. One in seven have dealt with unnecessary or offensive questions from their medical provider. It’s because of bigots like Rand Paul that our transgender siblings experience difficulty navigating our health care system.

“For this reason, I’m calling on the American Academy of Ophthalmology to formally condemn Rand Paul. His comments during the hearing were not only offensive—they were a violation of his profession’s code of ethics, which clearly prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex or gender identity. Senator Paul should be condemned, and he must apologize.”

To read a copy of Senator Hoylman’s letter to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, click here.