Trans lawmaker slapped with censure after telling GOP colleagues they will have ‘blood on their hands’

Rep. Zooey Zephyr, the first “transgender woman” to serve in the Montana Legislature, has been barred from speaking on the state House floor because of the “hate-filled testimony” delivered about a bill that’d ban transgender medical care for minors.

“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,” Zephyr said during a floor debate on Tuesday.


Zephyr’s Republican colleagues were not pleased.

“House Majority Leader Sue Vinton, a Republican, immediately called Zephyr’s comments inappropriate and disrespectful. That evening, a group of conservative lawmakers known as the Montana Freedom Caucus demanded her censure,” the Associated Press reported.

“Hate-filled testimony has no place on the House floor,” caucus member Rep. Caleb Hinkle said, according to Fox News.

“The Montana Freedom Caucus demands Representative Zooey Zephyr of Missoula’s House District 100 be censured by the House for attempting to shame the Montana legislative body and by using inappropriate and uncalled-for language during a floor debate over amendments concerning Senate Bill 99 — to ban sex changes of minor children,” a press release from the caucus states.

“This kind of hateful rhetoric from an elected official is exactly why tragedies such as the Covenant Christian School shooting in Nashville occurred. Combined with former Montana Supreme Court Justice Jim Nelson’s recent calls for ‘jihad’ and a ‘fight to the death,’ there is unmistakable evidence of a desire for some to engage in violence over political beliefs. This must stop,” the caucus added.

When Zephyr tried to speak up again two days later, Montana state House Speaker Matt Regier, a Republican, blocked him.

“Regier said he took specific issue with Zephyr telling other lawmakers they should be ashamed of their votes on SB 99. He said he would see how things ‘unfold,’ but that essentially he will not recognize Zephyr on the floor until she apologizes for her remarks,” according to the Montana Free Press.

“It is up to me to maintain decorum here on the House floor, to protect the dignity and integrity. And any representative that I don’t feel can do that will not be recognized,” the speaker said in his own words.

But Zephyr is refusing to apologize. With his Democrat colleagues and the media predictably supporting him, he’s now doubling down.

“I want to be clear: no amount of silencing tactics will deter me from standing up for the rights of the transgender community. This year, I have lost friends to suicide, and I have listened to the heart-wrenching stories of families dealing with suicide attempts, trans youth fleeing the state, and people being attacked on the side of the road — all due to legislation like this,” Zephyr said in a statement.

“I will not apologize for speaking with clarity and precision about the harm these bills cause. Montana Republicans say they want an apology, but what they really want is silence as they take away the rights of trans and queer Montanans,” the transgender added.

On Friday, Regier reportedly once again barred Zephyr from speaking.

As for the public, some say Zephyr is in the right, while others say he’s completely in the wrong. Conservatives for their part all say he’s in the dead wrong.



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