Twitter has refused to take down Texas attorney general Ken Paxton’s hateful tweet deliberately misgendering Dr Rachel Levine as it’s within the ‘public interest’.
Paxton – whose career has been marred by misconduct allegations and a state bar complaint – has pushed to classify gender-affirming care as “child abuse” and is currently appealing a court order to conduct “necessary investigations” into the parents of trans kids.
On Thursday, the Texas attorney general decided to continue his anti-trans campaign by intentionally misgendering the nation’s only openly trans four-star admiral in a cruel statement on Twitter.
Despite immense backlash on social media, Twitter decided to let the tweet remain up despite it breaking the social media platform’s rules about hateful conduct and misgendering trans individuals.
Twitter posted an update on Ken Paxton’s tweet, acknowledging that it violates the website’s rules but would remain accessible because it “may be in the public’s interest”.
“As is standard with this notice, engagements with the tweet will be limited,” a spokesperson told PinkNews. “People will be able to quote the tweet, but will not be able to like, reply or retweet it.”
According to Twitter, an exception for having a tweet removed does require the account to be verified; have more than 100,000 followers; violate one or more rules; and represent a “current or potential member” of a legislative body.
The website states that it is “more likely to remove” a tweet if it includes a “declarative call to action that could harm a specific individual or group”. It will also remove tweets that “shares information or engages in behaviour that could directly interfere with an individual’s exercise of their fundamental rights”.
PinkNews has contacted Dr Levine for comment.
Several people called out Twitter for arguing that misgendering Dr Levine is within the “public interest”.
Dr Levine is not only the first female and openly trans four-star admiral in US history, a milestone that has been celebrated by LGBT+ groups and USA Today.
The outlet named the top Biden official as one of its “Women of the Year” for her trailblazing work and role during the COVID-19 pandemic.
As part of her interview for the accolade, the US assistant secretary for health sent a beautiful message of acceptance to trans, non-binary and gender non-conforming Americans.
“I think you have to be true to yourself, and I think that you have to be who you are,” Dr Levine said.
“You have tremendous worth just for who you are, no matter who you love, no matter who you are, no matter what your gender identity, sexual orientation or anything else, and to be, be true to that. And then everything else will follow.”