Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Assistant Secretary Rachel Levine recently argued that medical interventions such as hormone therapy could be necessary for children who are experiencing the "wrong puberty."
Levine appeared Friday in the first installment of the ABC "Nightline" series, "Identity Denied: Trans in America," which featured a teenager who claimed to be under attack by Republican efforts to ban gender reassignment surgeries and drugs for minors in states across the country.
Levine dismissed concerns that children younger than 18 are too young to consent to what the LBGTQ community describes as "gender-affirming care."
"The treatment options for gender-affirming care for transgender youth really are evidence-based," Levine said in the video.
"Adolescence is hard and puberty is hard," she continued. "What if you're going through the wrong puberty? What if you inside feel that you are female, but now you're going through a male puberty?"
Levine, the highest-ranking openly transgender federal official in the country, was well into adulthood when she started experimenting with her gender identity, and she was 54 years old when she fully transitioned to female in 2011.
Levine claimed in the ABC interview that young children are not getting gender-related surgeries or procedures, but that other interventions like hormone and speech therapies can help them "explore" it.
"I want to make it clear that for pre-pubertal children, there are no medical procedures done," she said. "The standard of care allows them to explore that with therapy."
Levine declared that such treatments are "literally suicide prevention care" and that bans against them are "unscientific" and "medically harmful."
"Gender-affirming care is medical care," she said. "Gender-affirming care is mental health care. Gender-affirming care is literally suicide prevention care."
Parents Defending Education President Nicki Neily highlighted the clip on Twitter and took a shot at Levine’s credibility, asking, "This is the ‘expert’ parents are supposed to trust?"
During an interview last month, Levine argued that the government does not "belong" in gender treatments for minors and that the "politically and ideologically motivated laws and actions" sweeping the country are harming kids.