A Montana state lawmaker and sponsor of the state’s ban on gender-affirming care for transgender youth has been blasted online after she commented on the state’s House floor in March that she would rather have her daughter be suicidal than allow her to transition.
Though Rep. Kerri Seekins-Crowe, a Republican, didn’t say that her daughter was transgender, she said she was “one of those parents who lived with a daughter who was suicidal for three years.”
A video of her comments has gone viral after being shared by the Twitter account of the website The Intellectualist. The clip has been viewed more than 14 million times on Twitter.
"One of the big issues that we have heard today and we've talked about lately is that without surgery the risk of suicide goes way up. Well, I am one of those parents who lived with a daughter who was suicidal for three years," Seekins-Crowe said in her speech. "Someone once asked me, 'Wouldn't I just do anything to help save her?' And I really had to think and the answer was, 'No.'"
She added, "I was not going to give in to her emotional manipulation because she was incapable of making those decisions and I had to make those decisions for her.”
The GOP lawmaker went on to say that she wasn’t going to let her daughter “tear apart my family.”
“And I was not going to let her tear apart me because I had to be strong for her, I had to have a vision for her life when she had none, was incapable of having none,” she said.
Seekins-Crowe continued that she had “spent house on the floor in prayer because I didn't know that when I woke up if my daughter was going to be alive or not. But I knew that I had to make those right decisions for her so that she would have a precious, successful adulthood at that time."
The lawmaker didn't respond to requests for comment from NBC News or the Daily Beast.
One user on Twiter said, "My gut tells me that the hours she spent in prayer could have been used to find her daughter real help."
"Suicide as 'manipulation.' What a mother," another wrote.
And another user replied, "Imagine believing this and then telling everyone."
“I vehemently disagree with this speech by GOP state rep Kerri Seekins-Crowe,” U.S. Rep. Ted Lieu, a Democrat from California, tweeted. “But you know what she didn’t say? That it should be the government’s role to make personal decisions for families. Why is she now shoving her private decision down other people’s throats?”
The backlash for her comments comes after the state’s Republican Gov. Greg Gianforte signed a law banning gender-affirming care. Gianforte’s nonbinary gay son, David Gianforte, had spoken to local media about lobbying their father against signing the bill.
It also comes after the state’s House voted to kick out transgender lawmaker Zooey Zephyr, a Democrat, for the remainder of the session. Zephyr, who is the state’s first trans lawmaker, can still vote virtually, but cannot participate in debate. She was punished after she told GOP colleagues that passing the gender-affirming care ban would leave them with “blood on your hands.”
Since then, hundreds have come to Montana’s House to protest Zephyr’s treatment.
With Gianforte signing the law, Montana joins over a dozen states that have also restricted gender-affirming health care for transgender minors. Major medical organizations approve and support such care for transgender youth. They say that restrictions on the care pose health risks, including the risk of suicide, to these youth.
If you are having thoughts of suicide or are concerned that someone you know may be, resources are available to help. The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988 is for people of all ages and identities. Trans Lifeline, designed for transgender or gender-nonconforming people, can be reached at (877) 565-8860. The lifeline also provides resources to help with other crises, such as domestic violence situations. The Trevor Project Lifeline, for LGBTQ+ youth (ages 24 and younger), can be reached at (866) 488-7386. Users can also access chat services at TheTrevorProject.org/Help or text START to 678678.