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Twitter Has Decided the Debate Over What to Call Transgender People Is Over

Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind., was suspended from Twitter Saturday for referring to President Joe Biden’s transgender assistant secretary of health as a man.

SO WHAT

As far as the media establishment is concerned, there is no debate to be had over gender identity.

WHAT HAPPENED

Reacting to Rachel Levine being sworn in last week as admiral of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, Banks tweeted from his official account Tuesday that the honor of becoming the nation’s first female four-star admiral had been “taken by a man.”

A spokesperson for Twitter told Axios that Banks’ account had been locked for violating the company’s “Hateful Conduct Policy,” which prohibits attacks aimed at an individual’s gender orientation.

  • The spokesperson said Banks’ account would be locked until he deleted the tweet.
  • Tweeting from his personal account Saturday, Banks remained defiant, saying he’d been suspended for “posting a statement of FACT” and vowing not to “back down.”

THE POLICY

Twitter updated its policy in 2018 to ban “misgendering” or “deadnaming” transgender people, that is, using their pre-transition names.

  • The policy previously prohibited targeting people based on their gender identity, but with less specificity.

SAME ENERGY

In 2017, the Associated Press Stylebook, the standard for journalistic convention, embraced the use of the gender-neutral term “they” out of respect for transgender and “nonbinary” people.

“It’s an important step forward for gender equality and feminist empowerment. Because of this change, transgender and gender-nonconforming people will gain greater respect and dignity in the media,” “genderqueer” activist Jacob Tobia told NBC News at the time.

  • “It’s great to know that I won’t have to fight so hard to have my pronouns respected by journalists.”

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