Call me Ishmale

The cultural transformation of the United States proceeds at an astonishing pace. It is assisted by the titans of Big Tech, of course, against whom a president and lowly congressman are powerless. In what should be another installment of my Shapes of things series, Rep. Jim Banks has been suspended by Twitter for allegedly “misgendering [Biden administration] trans health official” Rachel Levine (per the CBS News tweet below). The AP puts it this way:

Twitter’s action Saturday came after Republican Rep. Jim Banks posted tweets last week regarding Dr. Rachel Levine becoming the first openly transgender four-star officer in the U.S. uniformed services. Levine is also the nation’s assistant secretary of health.

Banks had responded to the U.S. surgeon general congratulating Levine on her promotion in the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps by writing: “The title of first female four-star officer gets taken by a man.”

The post was removed with a reference to Twitter rules that include a ban on “targeted misgendering” of transgender people. Banks’ official Twitter account remained online Sunday but he wasn’t allowed to add new posts. His personal account with fewer followers remained active.

Banks, whose district covers Fort Wayne and surrounding northeastern Indiana, has frequently drawn attention with right-wing social media comments. He stood by his post about Levine.

The AP story story assumes everyone should understand that Levine was born male and underwent sex reassignment surgery. As I understand the facts set forth in the 2015 Reuters story, Levine remained a biological male until he was 58.

The AP does not explain why Banks “stood by his post.” In an Instagram statement Banks explained: “My tweet was a statement of fact. Big Tech doesn’t have to agree with me, but they shouldn’t cancel me.”

CBS News explained that Banks “used the wrong pronoun.” Assuming we accept the premise of Banks’s alleged offense, he actually used the “wrong noun” — i.e., he called Levine a man. In any event, they make it sound like Banks committed an offense against good grammar.

The tweet below includes a screenshot of Banks’s offending tweet.

Other mainstream media outlets characterize Banks’s offense as “intentional misgendering.” Although this radiates the air of a criminal offense more serious than “targeted misgendering,” Banks remains at large.

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