Twitter suspended the account of Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind., on Saturday after he intentionally misgendered a senior Health and Human Services official, Dr. Rachel Levine, the first transgender person to hold an office that requires Senate confirmation.
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 be 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 said the comment violated its hateful conduct policy, which prohibits the “targeted misgendering or deadnaming of transgender individuals.”
The platform temporarily locked Banks' account, saying he would regain access upon deleting the tweet.
Banks decried his suspension on his personal account, saying he was punished for “posting a statement of FACT.”
“I won’t back down,” Banks wrote. “I’ll be posting on my personal account for the time being.”
Levine, the nation's most senior transgender official, became the first openly transgender four-star officer across any of the country's eight uniformed services Tuesday.
"This is a momentous occasion, and I am honored to take this role for the impact I can make and for the historic nature of what it symbolizes," Levine said in a speech at her swearing-in ceremony.
CORRECTION (Oct. 25, 2021, 5 p.m. ET): A previous version of this article misstated Dr. Rachel Levine's status as an officer. She is the first woman to become a four-star officer in the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, not in the military as a whole.