Health and Human Services (HHS) Assistant Secretary for Health Dr. Rachel Levine has called state transgender sports bans “challenging and unfortunate.”

Levine, the highest-ranking transgender federal government official, made her remarks during a recent appearance on ABC News Prime.

(Related: Rachel Levine becomes first transgender person confirmed by Senate.)

Nine states have approved such bans, including Florida, South Dakota, Mississippi, Arkansas, Tennessee, West Virginia, Montana, Alabama, and Idaho. A federal judge has blocked implementation of Idaho's law.

(Related: HRC to challenge Florida's transgender sports ban.)

When asked about the recent spate of laws, Levine answered: “I think that they're very challenging and unfortunate.”

“You know, I think that trans youth are very vulnerable. They have often faced significant bullying and harassment, and they need our support.”

“They need to be nurtured, not to be limited from their activities such as sports,” she said.

Noting June is LGBT Pride Month, Levine added that she believes “it is very important to advocate for equality and health equity for the LGBT community.”