Montana House Votes To Temporarily Expel Trans Rep. Zooey Zephyr
Montana House leaders voted to expel lawmaker Zooey Zephyr for the remainder of the legislative session on Wednesday, following protests outside the state’s capital building.
Zephyr, Montana’s first openly transgender woman elected to the legislative body, said Republicans who back a bill banning gender-affirming medical care would have “blood on their hands.”
“I have been informed that during tomorrow’s floor session there will be a motion to either censure or expel me,” Zephyr tweeted on Tuesday, with a picture of a letter sent from Montana House leadership. “I’ve also been told I’ll get a chance to speak. I will do as I have always done—rise on behalf of my constituents, in defense of my community, & for democracy itself.”
I have been informed that during tomorrow’s floor session there will be a motion to either censure or expel me.
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I've also been told I'll get a chance to speak. I will do as I have always done—rise on behalf of my constituents, in defense of my community, & for democracy itself. pic.twitter.com/8gD3UWPBkS
— Rep. Zooey Zephyr (@ZoAndBehold) April 26, 2023
Multiple leading medical organizations, including the American Medical Association, have called gender-affirming care “medically necessary.” The National Library of Medicine reports that suicidality is “highest among transgender youth.” The Republican-backed bill that Zephyr criticized did not address these concerns.
Republicans demanded that Zephyr apologize for her rhetoric, saying her words were inappropriate for debate in the House.
Riot police arrested seven protesters supporting Zephyr outside the state capital on Monday. The protests led to a Speaker-imposed recess on Tuesday.
Speaker Matt Regier called the disruptions a “dark day for Montana” and attempted to clarify that the House’s actions have been misrepresented.
“Currently, all representatives are free to participate in House debates while following the House rules,” Regier told reporters. “The choice to not follow the House rules is one that Rep. Zephyr has made. The only person silencing Rep. Zephyr is Rep. Zephyr. The Montana House will not be bullied.”
Critics of Zephyr’s potential ouster compared Montana’s House proceedings to the expulsion of two legislators in Tennessee’s House after they protested a lack of legislation on gun violence.
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