Texas AG Ken Paxton deliberately misgendered Rachel Levine, a transgender federal official, on Twitter.
Bigoted political fossil and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who in February called gender-affirming medical care “child abuse”, misgendered US assistant secretary of health Admiral Rachel Levine after she was named one of USA Today’s ‘Women of the Year’ – a recognition of women across the US who have made a significant public impact.
Notably, Levine is also the first openly trans four-star officer admiral in American history.
Paxton posted a screenshot of Levine’s inclusion on the list to Twitter, along with the wording “Rachel Levine is a man”
Twitter, whose policy outlines that “targeting others with repeated slurs, tropes or other content that intends to dehumanise, degrade or reinforce negative or harmful stereotypes about a protected group” is against community guidelines, has since flagged – but not removed – the post.
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) tweeted in response: “Transphobia doesn’t make you a leader. If you can’t represent all people, don’t hold public office.”
“Ken Paxton really clearly has animus towards the LGBTQ+ community,” said Ricardo Martinez, CEO of Equality Texas, a LGBTQ rights organization.
“He has wasted millions in tax dollars terrifying and harming innocent children and their loving families, and has abused the power of an office meant to protect all Texans to further his political aspirations. Admiral Levine is a four-star admiral and a hero,” Martinez said.
Levine is the nation’s highest-ranking, openly transgender federal official, a four-star admiral, and a pediatrician, who among her credits, boasts a lengthy career in medicine and public service, having previously served as physician general and secretary of health in Pennsylvania.
In February, Ken Paxton faced public backlash for labelling gender-affirming medical care as “child abuse” in a non-binding legal opinion.
This prompted governor Greg Abbott to command the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS), the state’s child welfare agency, to investigate medical care for transgender adolescents as abuse.
Subsequently, in one particular investigation, a judge halted an investigation into parents of a 16-year-old teen girl, citing that the family “face the imminent and ongoing deprivation of their constitutional rights, the potential loss of necessary medical care, and the stigma attached to being the subject of an unfounded child abuse investigation.”
Paton immediately appealed the order, beginning a prolonged legal fight over transgender medical care in Texas.
Paxton is currently headed to a Republican primary runoff, in May, against Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush as he pursues a third term as attorney general.