Just days after Dr. Rachel Levine made LGBTQ history by becoming the first openly transgender four-star officer to earn a position in one of the nation’s eight uniformed services, a conservative lawmaker has taken to social media to make anti-trans remarks concerning her appointment.
Ben Kesslen of NBC News reported that on Saturday, Oct. 23, Twitter suspended the professional account of Rep. Jim Banks, a Congressional Representative for the state of Indiana, after he intentionally misgendered Levine in a hate-filled attempt to downplay her accomplishment and its historic significance.
According to Kesslen, “Banks, who represents the northeastern corner of the state, was responding to the news that Levine, HHS’ assistant secretary for health, had become the first woman to become a four-star officer in the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, saying the title of admiral and the honor were taken by a ‘man.’”
Twitter suspended the account of Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) Saturday after he intentionally misgendered Assistant Secretary of Health Rachel Levine, the first openly transgender Senate-confirmed federal official, a spokesperson for the platform told Axios. https://t.co/siWQ5NCPt4
— Yahoo News (@YahooNews) October 24, 2021
A Twitter spokesperson said the lawmaker’s comments violated the social media giant’s “hateful conduct policy, which prohibits the ‘targeted misgendering or deadnaming of transgender individuals.’”
In addition to the suspension, Twitter said Banks’ account would remain temporarily locked, and he would only regain access by deleting the tweet.
However, instead of recognizing the harmfulness and hate contained within his attack, Banks instead escalated the matter, turning to his personal account in an attempt to defend his actions. He claimed he was being punished for “posting a statement of FACT” and declared his refusal to back down to Twitter.
“I’ll be posting on my personal account for the time being,” tweeted Banks, who has only been in office as a representative for Indiana since the beginning of the year.
Banks’ anti-trans attack against Levine isn’t even the only controversy to land the freshman lawmaker in hot water in the past week. On Friday, Oct. 22, MSNBC reported that Banks was “trying to present himself as the ‘ranking member’ of the Jan. 6 committee.” Unfortunately, as the network pointed out, “Banks isn’t the ranking member on the Jan. 6 committee. In fact, he’s not on the committee at all.”
.@MaddowBlog: Indiana Rep. Jim Banks is trying to present himself as the "ranking member" of the Jan. 6 committee. The problem, of course, is that Banks isn't the ranking member on the Jan. 6 committee. In fact, he's not on the committee at all. https://t.co/CXIsa8qRRZ
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) October 23, 2021