Who Is Rachel Levine? Biden-Appointed Official Misgendered by Jim Banks on Twitter

Dr. Rachel Levine, the first openly transgender federal official confirmed by the U.S. Senate, has been intentionally mislabeled a "man" by Indiana Rep. Jim Banks on Twitter.

Banks responded to news of Levine's appointment by stating that the historic honor was instead taken by a "man" in a tweet posted last week.

The social media platform temporarily suspended the Twitter account of Banks on Saturday following his tweet, noting the post violated its "hateful conduct policy," which prohibits the "misgendering or deadnaming of transgender individuals."

A spokesperson for Twitter told Newsweek on Sunday: "The account owner is required to delete the violative Tweet before regaining access to their account."

Banks responded to the incident from his personal Twitter account on Friday. "Twitter has suspended my official account for posting a statement of FACT. I won't back down...Big Tech must be held accountable!," Banks tweeted on October 23, noting he would be posting from his personal account for the time being.

In a statement on Twitter, the representative said: "Big Tech doesn't have to agree with me, but they shouldn't be able to cancel me. If they silence me, they will silence you.

"We can't allow Big Tech to prevent us from telling the truth. When Republicans take back the House next year, we must restore honesty to our public forums and hold Big Tech accountable," the statement said.

Who Is Rachel Levine?

Levine is the 17th Assistant Secretary for Health for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) after being nominated by President Joe Biden.

She was sworn in to the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps (USPHS) on October 19, becoming the first openly transgender four-star officer in the uniformed services and first female four-star admiral of the USPHS.

Levine graduated from Harvard College (the undergraduate branch of Harvard University) in Massachusetts and Tulane University School of Medicine in Louisiana before completing her training in pediatrics and adolescent medicine at the Mt. Sinai Medical Center in New York City, according to the HHS website.

Treating children, adolescents and young adults, Levine's focus as a physician was on the intersection between mental and physical health.

She was previously a professor at the Penn State College of Medicine and served in other roles within the pediatrics and adolescent divisions of the Penn State Hershey Medical Center.

In 2015, Levine was nominated to be Pennsylvania's Physician General by Gov. Tom Wolf, for which she was unanimously confirmed by the Pennsylvania Senate, and in 2018, Levine was named Pennsylvania's Secretary of Health.

During her time working in state government, she worked to address Pennsylvania's opioid crisis, with a focus on maternal health and the improvement of immunization rates among children.

I am deeply honored & grateful to join the ranks of men & women across this great nation who have committed to defend the United States against small & large threats, known and unknown. I promise to uphold that trust to the fullest extent of my abilities. https://t.co/ryfwRqbAoz

— ADM Rachel Levine (@HHS_ASH) October 19, 2021

What Is Misgendering and Why Is it Banned on Twitter?

Misgendering is the act of purposely referring to someone with their pretransition pronouns and can be considered a form of hate crime.

Twitter bans users from 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," Twitter says.

According to the social media platform, research has shown that some groups of people are "disproportionately targeted with abuse online," including lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex and asexual individuals.

The abuse may be more common, more severe and more harmful for those who identify with multiple underrepresented groups, Twitter says.

The platform is committed to combating abuse motivated by hatred, prejudice or intolerance, particularly the type that "seeks to silence the voices of those who have been historically marginalized."

Twitter explains: "For this reason, we prohibit behavior that targets individuals or groups with abuse based on their perceived membership in a protected category.

"Free expression is a human right – we believe that everyone has a voice, and the right to use it. Our role is to serve the public conversation, which requires representation of a diverse range of perspectives," the platform says.

Dr. Rachel Levine in Washington, D.C.
Dr. Rachel Levine pictured on February 25, 2021, as she testifies before her confirmation hearing of the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee in Washington, D.C. Caroline Brehman / POOL / AFP via Getty Images