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Representative Jim Banks suspended from Twitter after misgendering trans health official Dr. Rachel Levine

U.S. Representative Jim Banks, a Republican from Indiana, has been suspended from Twitter after using the wrong pronouns in a tweet about Assistant Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine, who is transgender.

Levine made history this month when she became the first openly transgender four-star officer in any of the nation's eight uniformed services, the Department of Health and Human Services announced. The former pediatrician's appointment also made her the first female four-star admiral in the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps' history. 

Banks tweeted about the historic promotion, according to the Associated Press, writing: "The title of first female four-star officer gets taken by a man." The tweet is now unavailable as Banks' Twitter handle, which he uses for his political career, was suspended.

Levine is a woman, and was nominated by President Joe Biden in January to serve as assistant secretary for health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Once confirmed, she became the first openly transgender federal official in a Senate-confirmed role, according to the Biden-Harris transition team. 

By referring to Levine as a man, Banks violated Twitter's "hateful conduct policy," which prohibits the promotion of "violence against or directly attack or threaten other people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, caste, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or serious disease."

Part of the policy prohibits "repeated and/or non-consensual slurs, epithets, racist and sexist tropes, or other content that degrades someone," which "includes targeted misgendering or deadnaming of transgender individuals." Deadnaming is referring to a trans person by their former name, which often misgenders them. 

Like many politicians, Banks has a personal Twitter account in addition to his professional account. He went to his personal account on Saturday to give details on his suspension. 

"Twitter has suspended my official account for posting a statement of FACT. I won't back down. I'll be posting on my personal account for the time being. Please Retweet this message and follow me," he said, adding that "big tech must be held accountable." Banks' tweet is inaccurate, as Levine is a woman. 

In an email to CBS News, a Twitter spokesperson confirmed Banks' account was temporarily locked for violating the hateful conduct policy. "The account owner is required to delete the violative Tweet before regaining access to their account," the spokesperson said.

The social media platform has taken a stand against hateful and inaccurate messages in the past, suspending high-profile accounts, including former President Donald Trump. In permanently banning the president, Twitter cited "the risk of further incitement of violence," following the assault on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, which Mr. Trump is accused of inciting.

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