Marcus Grant | Managing Editor
As of Sunday evening, Twitter has banned Indiana Representative, Jim Banks from his
account due to him misgendering Assistant Secretary of Health, Dr. Rachel Levine. Levine is the first transgender person to hold an office requiring confirmation from the Senate. She is the first woman to earn the title of four-star officer. In his tweet, Banks said, “The title of first female four-star officer gets taken by a man.” The tweet has since been deleted and his account is currently banned for violating Twitter’s community guidelines. In 2018, “targeted misgendering or deadnaming of transgender individuals” was included as hateful conduct. Banks responded with the following statement: “My tweet was a statement of fact. 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.”
There are many reasons that this rhetoric is harmful. Firstly, the fact of the matter is that
Rachel Levine is a woman. She is not a man and calling her such would be incorrect. We can
note the blatant hypocrisy with Banks’ words. He says that big tech doesn’t have to agree with him, but they shouldn’t act against him. Meanwhile, the tweet he is referencing is one in which he acts against someone with who he disagrees. It’s become a recurring pattern for cisgender people to purposefully misgender transgender individuals who they do not like or agree with. Other examples that I’ve seen are people like Caitlyn Jenner. I’m not a fan of her behavior or most of the things she decides to say but that is not a reason to deny her identity.
It’s hard enough for transgender people to live as it is. Whether they choose to undergo
surgery or take hormones, they are questioned and ridiculed at every step. Not to mention the insecurity that can come with transitioning. So, when people who will never have to go through that experience choose to act in a way to reject their existence, it only adds to the stress that they have to deal with. According to Forbes, “52% of all transgender and nonbinary young people in the U.S. seriously contemplated killing themselves in 2020.” Considering the National Institution of Mental Health found that “among adults across all age groups, the prevalence of serious suicidal thoughts was highest among young adults aged 18-25 (11.8%),” which is still four times less than transgender individuals.
This points to a larger issue within our society. If we continue to isolate and purposefully
harm transgender people, we will see these rates continue to rise. But it doesn’t have to be that way. We are more than capable of accepting people for who they are. It starts with people who have influence. People like celebrities and politicians. If they can’t be open to working with people different than themselves, our country will continue to lack the diversity it needs in leadership.