Indiana Rep. Jim Banks Doubles Down On Transphobic Tweet About Rachel Levine After Twitter Suspension

Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Representative Jim Banks and Dr. Rachel Levine

Last week, Representative Jim Banks reacted to the news that Dr. Rachel Levine had been appointed as the county’s first female four-star officer. And his transphobic comments caused him to be immediately suspended from the platform.

Dr. Rachel Levine was sworn in as a four-star admiral in the United States Public Health Service Commissions Corp on October 19th. She has been elected during the worst pandemic to grip this country and the world in the last 100 years.

Why was Jim Banks suspended from Twitter?

Rep. Jim Banks intentionally misgendered Dr. Levine and was promptly suspended from Twitter pending his removal of the tweet.

“The title of first female four-star officer gets taken by a man,” he wrote in the now-deleted tweet.

RELATED: What Being Transgender Feels Like

Rep. Banks must not have read Twitter’s rules very closely, as the rules on hateful conduct are quite clear, “We prohibit targeting others with repeated slurs, tropes or other content that intends to dehumanize, degrade or reinforce negative or harmful stereotypes about a protected category. This includes targeted misgendering or deadnaming of transgender individuals.”

It comes as no surprise then that Twitter took the action that it did in suspending the representative, but it begs the question, why did he do it?

Well, a look at Rep. Banks’ personal account will answer that question.

Representative Jim Banks blames big tech for censoring him after blatantly violating Twitter’s hateful conduct rules. He’s doubling down and doesn’t seem like he intends to follow through with Twitter’s demand that he delete the offending tweet.

Representative Banks might have some antiquated views about transgender people and he might really believe what he’s saying in his tweet and that the rules shouldn’t apply to him.

But really, what the representative wants here is in the tweet on his personal Twitter account. Representative Jim Banks is using this moment as a call to action to his constituents against big tech.

As far as the GOP is concerned, it’s in vogue to get cancelled right now and there’s a really good chance that that’s exactly what Rep. Jim Banks wanted.

Or, maybe he should just read Twitter’s rules next time before he tweets.

Dr. Rachel Levine is a distinguished public health official.

Dr. Levine has been involved in high-ranking public health positions for years and combatted the opiate epidemic in the mid-2010s as Pennsylvania’s Physician General.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Hey You! Want more of YourTango's best articles, seriously addictive horoscopes and top expert advice? Sign up to get our free daily newsletter!

RELATED: 5 Things You DON'T Know About Transgender People But Should

At the time of Dr. Levine’s appointment in Pennsylvania in 2015, the state was experiencing an opioid crisis. Dr. Levine signed an order that allowed for law enforcement to carry a drug called Naloxone, which could reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. This order was credited with saving nearly 1,000 lives in Pennsylvania.

In 2020 Dr. Levine led Pennsylvania’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic before being nominated for the position of assistant secretary of health under the Biden administration. Once confirmed, Dr. Levine became the first-ever woman to hold the title of four-star admiral in any of the eight uniformed services.

Dr. Levine also became the first-ever openly transgender person to hold the title of four-star admiral.

In 2011, Dr. Rachel Levine transitioned after many years of struggling with her identity. She made a decision that was deeply personal and socially taboo in 2011 and has happily lived as a woman ever since.

After she was sworn in, Representative Jim Banks decided that actually, no, Dr. Levine’s definition of her gender was invalid and, in doing so, made an indirect attack on the trans community as whole.

RELATED: 5 Things You Learn When You Date Someone Who Is Transgender

Dan O'Reilly is a writer who covers news, politics and social justice. Follow him on Twitter.