Transgender Montana Legislator Barred From The State House, Will Vote By Remote

( – Transgender activist and Democrat Montana state representative Zooey Zephyr will be barred from attending sessions in person and thus giving comment on legislative matters for the rest of the 2023 session for his refusal to apologize for disparaging remarks he made previously.

Zephyr had made the offending remarks during a debate on a bill that would bar prohibit medicalized gender-bending of minors with gender dysphoria. Montana’s SB99 would also block public funding for these treatments and makes violations actionable for medical professionals who engage in the practice.

Zephyr said that if his colleagues voted yes on SB99, that he hoped when they bowed their heads in prayer, they would “see the blood on your hands.” The Montana Freedom Caucus then issued a letter calling for censure, and that resulted in a small riot with 7 arrests when Zephyr’s supporters interrupted a session in progress by heckling and yelling from the gallery on Monday, April 24th. Police had to physically remove them, and Zephyr refused to ask them to leave or instruct them to be quiet when the Sergeant-at-arms asked him for help.

After his refusal to apologize, lawmakers voted 68-32 to prevent Zephyr from being allowed on the House floor on Wednesday, April 26th. He’s also banned from the gallery and anteroom, likely to preemptively eliminate the possibility of another interruption. He still retains his position and can vote on issues remotely.

House Speaker Matt Regier said the vote was held because Zephyr’s comments violated House decorum rules. He called Zephyr and his supporters’ antics bullying and rejected the idea of letting it influence Montanan politics. State Rep. Braxton Mitchell said that he violated the “trust given by the other 99 representatives” in addition to decorum and called Zephyr’s antics self-serving.

Zephyr said he intends to continue to represent his constituents and seemed pleased there “are many more eyes on Montana now.” He’s well aware that his antics garnered him additional attention and the national spotlight.

SB99 was passed and amended a few times, it awaits the signature of the governor.

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