Montana’s Republican-controlled House of Representatives voted Wednesday to censure the state’s first and only openly transgender lawmaker, Zooey Zephyr, banning her from the House floor and forbidding her from speaking. Zephyr will only be able to cast votes remotely for the remainder of the legislative session. The move comes a week after Zephyr delivered a searing condemnation of a bill that would ban gender-affirming healthcare for youth and after her supporters led a protest inside the state Capitol on Monday. Zephyr has since been largely silenced on the House floor after the Republican House speaker demanded she apologize. Zephyr did speak Wednesday ahead of the vote to censure her.
Rep. Zooey Zephyr: “And when the speaker asks me to apologize on behalf of decorum, what he is really asking me to do is be silent when my community is facing bills that get us killed. He is asking me to be complicit in this Legislature’s eradication of our community. And I refuse to do so, and I will always refuse to do so.”
Tune in to Democracy Now! Friday, when Representative Zooey Zephyr will join us on the show along with Tennessee state Representative Justin Jones.
Elsewhere, North Dakota signed a new law that bans transgender people from using public bathrooms or locker rooms that align with their gender identity. In Missouri, a judge has temporarily blocked harsh new restrictions on gender-affirming care in response to a legal challenge by the ACLU of Missouri and others. And the U.S. Justice Department has sued Tennessee over its law banning gender-affirming care for minors.