Twitter suspended the official account of U.S. Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind., on Saturday and removed his tweet misgendering a transgender official.
Dr. Rachel Levine last week became the nation’s first openly transgender four-star officer in the uniformed services. She is also the country's assistant secretary of health.
Banks tweeted a response last week to Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, who had congratulated Levine on her role. The Republican lawmaker wrote on the social media platform, “The title of first female four-star officer gets taken by a man.”
A Twitter spokesperson confirmed to USA TODAY that Banks’s account was “temporarily locked for violating our Hateful Conduct Policy.” The spokesperson added that Banks “is required to delete the violative Tweet” before he can regain access to his account.
Twitter prohibits "targeting others with repeated slurs, tropes or other content that intends to dehumanize, degrade or reinforce negative or harmful stereotypes about a protected category," which includes "targeted misgendering or deadnaming of transgender individuals."
Banks made additional remarks about Levine’s gender in an Oct. 19 tweet. Twitter has not removed the post or Banks’s official account as of Monday afternoon.
The tweet referring to Levine as “a man” does not appear on Twitter.
The Republican lawmaker has protested the suspension on his personal Twitter account. He has also retweeted several posts from fellow Republican lawmakers criticizing the platform over the move.
“Big Tech doesn’t have to agree with me, but they shouldn’t be able to cancel me,” Banks said in a statement on his personal account on Saturday.
After Levine was sworn in last week, she said in remarks that she stands “on the shoulders of those LGBTQ+ individuals who came before me, both those known and unknown.
“May this appointment today be the first of many more to come as we create a diverse and more inclusive future. Diversity makes us stronger.”
Contributing: The Associated Press
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: GOP Rep. Jim Banks suspended from Twitter for misgendering official