Scroll To Top

Montana House to Vote on Punishing Transgender Lawmaker Zooey Zephyr

Montana House to Vote on Punishing Transgender Lawmaker Zooey Zephyr

Zooey Zephyr

Republican leadership have silenced the lawmaker after she stood up for gender-affirming health care.


Montana state. Rep. Zooey Zephyr, a Democrat, will face a vote on Wednesday over whether she’ll be censured by the legislature or expelled from it.

Zephyr, the only transgender lawmaker in Montana, has been silenced since Thursday in response to her calling out state Republicans over a bill banning gender-affirming care for youth.

Her supporters led protests on Monday calling for House leadership to let Zephyr speak during the session. Several of them were arrested.

Tuesday evening, Zephyr shared a photo on social media of a letter from House Republican leaders who told her that there would be a motion to determine if she had violated “the rules, collective rights, safety, dignity, integrity, or decorum” of the House as well as “whether to impose disciplinary consequences for those actions.”

The session, the leaders noted, would be closed to the public, but available online.

“I have been informed that during tomorrow’s floor session, there will be a motion to either censure or expel me,” Zephyr said on Twitter. “I’ve also been told I’ll get a chance to speak.”

The ordeal started earlier this month when the lawmaker told her colleagues that their bill to ban gender-affirming care to youth would leave “blood on your hands.”

“If you are forcing a trans child to go through puberty when they are trans, that is tantamount to torture, and this body should be ashamed,” she continued.

After Zephyr's comments., House Majority Leader Sue Vinton, a Republican, said the body would not be shamed by any member. Zephyr added, “The only thing I will say is if you vote yes on this bill and yes on these amendments, I hope the next time there’s an invocation, when you bow your heads in prayer, you see the blood on your hands.”

In response, the House’s Montana Freedom Caucus called for her to be censured, and misgendered Zephyr in their call to discipline her.

The House speaker, Matt Regier, said that he would not allow Zephyr to speak in the body until she apologized for the comment.

After Monday’s arrests, Zephyr released a statement saying that she stood by them “and will continue to do so. As an elected representative, I am devoted to supporting those who speak in defense of democracy, as it is my duty to ensure their voices are heard and respected.”

Tuesday’s House session was canceled.

Before it was called off, Regier said at a press conference, “The only person who is silencing Representative Zephyr is Representative Zephyr.”

He said the standoff was her fault for not apologizing.

Several LGBTQ+ lawmakers and activists sent messages of support for Zephyr.

“The MAGA right is afraid of trans people speaking,” Delaware state Sen. Sarah McBride, who is a trans woman, said. They’re afraid of trans people showing joy. They’re afraid of trans people living. They know when we speak when we show joy, and when we live out loud, we win. And they’re using the full power of the state to try to stop us.

Equality Florida spokesperson Brandon Wolf wrote, “They are shutting the public out of the room while they vote on whether to censure or expel the first trans woman to serve in the Montana legislature — because she told the truth about the consequences of ripping health care from trans youth.”

Many have compared the situation to that of the Tennessee Three — three lawmakers who were targeted for joining gun control protestors in Nashville after a mass shooting at a local school. Two of them were expelled but were then sent back by their districts.

“Voices across the country continue to rise for justice and expose the anti-democratic behavior of people in Republican-led states. We will not let our democracy die without fighting for every voice. We are in this fight from Memphis to Montana!” Tennessee state Rep. Justin Pearson, one of the Tennessee Three, said.

The American Civil Liberties Union tweeted on Wednesday that if Montana passes its ban, the organization will sue.

“Representative Zephyr should not be prevented from speaking because she is doing her job and advocating against a bill that would harm transgender people,” the organization wrote.

Only this year, 11 states have passed laws banning gender-affirming care to trans youth. Republican lawmakers have used gender-affirming care as a tool to mobilize their base.

Major medical associations support gender-affirming care for trans youth. They say that bans such as the one being considered in Montana are harmful to these children.

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

From our Sponsors

Most Popular

Latest Stories