LZ Granderson, host of 'Life Out Loud': Dr. Rachel Levine on protecting transgender youth

"You got to give them hope," activist and politician Harvey Milk once said.

You got to give them hope.

In many ways, those six lasting words of the late activist and politician Harvey Milk, act as a north star for the LGBTQ community. We know those who began the ongoing journey toward full equality were aware they likely would not be around to enjoy it.

But they fought anyway.

As did the generations that followed, each one providing hope for the generations that followed.

When you hear Dr. Rachel Levine, assistant secretary of health for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, speak about the importance of protecting transgender youth, you hear the tradition of the community trying to give hope.

Levine is a guest on the latest episode of my podcast, “Life Out Loud with LZ Granderson.” She and Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who is also on the episode, talk about the intersection of politics and health care policy. Fauci also talks about the latest in HIV/AIDS research and why the HIV infection rate in the Black community is of particular concern to him.

Levine, the first openly transgender federal official to be confirmed by the Senate, also spoke about the latest on HIV/AIDS as well as her confirmation experience and concerns over the more than 100 anti-trans bills introduced across the country.

“Those bills are extremely difficult and challenging,” she said. “Trans youth are vulnerable and they are at risk of bullying, harassment and discrimination.

“We really need to work to support trans youth and to help them and to nurture them, not to try to limit their participation in activities or sports, or even in the most egregious bills, try to limit their ability to access gender-affirming medical care,” she added.

Levine also said she believes politicians are using fear for personal gain.

“There are people who have no lived experience about trans individuals, about gender-identity issues,” Levine said. “People fear what they don't understand and what is beyond their experience.”

She went on, “I hope to, in my advocacy, educate people about trans individuals … to make them feel more comfortable and trustful of LGBTQ individuals and transgender individuals. I strongly feel that a vulnerable community, like trans youth, should not be politicized. We need to support and nurture them.”

"Life Out Loud" is available for free on major listening platforms, including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music, Google Podcasts, iHeartRadio, TuneIn, Audacy and the ABC News app.

Granderson is an award-winning journalist, ESPN Radio host and op-ed columnist for the Los Angeles Times. He was selected as journalist of the year by the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association in 2011 and his TED Talk, "Myth of the Gay Agenda," has 1.7 million views. Granderson has received recognition for his work from each major LGBTQ+ organization in the nation, including the Human Rights Campaign and GLAAD. The Advocate, the nation's most prominent and oldest LGBTQ+ magazine, frequently includes him as one of the 50 most influential LGBTQ voices in media.