On Thursday, Assistant Secretary for Health Dr. Rachel Levine told MSNBC’s Hallie Jackson that misgendering transgender people is “mean-spirited” and denigrates trans youth.

“You talk about being very vocal on the advocacy front. You told Chelsea Clinton on a podcast that was out—I think this week—that you hope that one day your identity isn’t going to define you or any other trans person, and yet we’re in this moment where some on the right continue to publicly misgender you. On a personal level, how do you navigate that?” Jackson asked him.

“Well, you know, I am absolutely able to navigate that,” Levine replied. “I’ve been doing this a while. But what I worry about is how those mean-spirited comments affect other transgender individuals who are more vulnerable than I am, particularly trans youth who we need to support and to empower in their lives, not to denigrate. So I’m fine, but we have to support others that are more vulnerable.”

Jackson followed up by asking him what his message is to trans kids living in states facing “anti-trans legislation.”

Related: Do Transgender People Need a ‘Day of Visibility’?

“Well, those anti-trans, those transphobic actions that states have taken are quite politically motivated. And I’ve said before. They are egregious. We need to support and empower trans youth. So my word to them is that we have a president who sees us and supports us as we are. It is so important for people to be authentic and to live free in the United States, to live in our nation as who they are and, of course, who they love. And we’re going to continue to do everything we can to support them.”

Let’s get one thing clear: When I or anyone else calls Levine “him” or otherwise uses male pronouns or calls him a man, that is not “misgendering.” Rachel Levine can legally change his name, grow his hair out, and have all the plastic surgery he wants, but that doesn’t change who or what he is–and that is a biological male. I’m not being mean-spirited; I’m just not validating his delusion that he is now a woman. The same goes for anyone who is transgender.

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