Montana Republicans Have Barred Transgender Rep. Zooey Zephyr From the House Floor for the Rest of the Legislative Session
Republicans in Montana’s House of Representatives voted on Wednesday to bar trans Representative Zooey Zephyr from the House chambers, forcing her to vote remotely on bills for the rest of the legislative session. The vote came after Rep. Zephyr held her mic up to amplify the voices of her supporters in the galleries, who were protesting Republicans’ decision to bar Zephyr from speaking on any bill for the 90 days left in the legislative session.
Rep. Zephyr tweeted a statement from a hallway, presumably outside the House chambers, stating that she’s continuing to work despite her forcible removal. Zephyr stated that she’s “talking to legislators, listening to debate, voting on bills, and fighting for democracy.”
Zephyr also reportedly told Montana House Speaker Matt Regier, “If you use decorum to silence people who hold you accountable, then all you’re doing is using decorum as a tool of oppression.”
Rep. Zephyr, who is Montana’s only trans state assembly member, has been vocal about Montana Republicans’ anti-trans legislation, which includes bans on trans healthcare, bans on drag, and a bill protecting students who bully their trans peers. The bills are part of a large wave of anti-trans hate, fueled by a cynical, 100% manufactured “trans panic” created by the right to rally its base.
Rep. Zephyr raised her Republican colleagues’ ire when she told them they would have “blood on [their] hands” for attempting to ban gender-affirming care for minors. The remark led to Zephyr’s silencing, when Republicans told her she was barred from speaking until she apologized. When, instead of apologize, Zephyr raised the mic for her supporters instead, Republicans barred her from the chambers.
Journalist Erin Reed, who is also Zephyr’s partner, pointed out that phrases like “blood on your hands” aren’t uncommon in legislative debates, providing further evidence that Zephyr has been singled out by Republicans because she’s trans.
Tellingly, earlier this week, a Republican Montanan on the House floor declared that she wouldn’t provide gender-affirming care to her child, even to save her life—giving lie to Republicans’ claims that their transphobic actions are protecting children.
(featured image: MPAN)
Have a tip we should know? [email protected]