Trans Montana Lawmaker Has Meltdown, Freedom Caucus Demands Censure

Montana State Rep. Zooey Zephyr made history last year as the first transgender elected to the state House of Representatives. Zephyr might soon make history again as the first trans woman to receive a formal censure by lawmakers. Zephyr drew condemnation from Republicans on Tuesday after he compared puberty to “torture” and told lawmakers they would have “blood on [their] hands” if they voted for a bill blocking transgender surgeries from being performed on minors. The Montana Freedom caucus has criticized Zephyr’s comments as “threatening and deeply concerning,” and called for a formal censure.

“If you are denying gender-affirming care and forcing a trans child to go through puberty, that is tantamount to torture, and this body should be ashamed,” Zephyr proclaimed during a Montana House session on Tuesday. The trans lawmaker was referring to Senate Bill 99, which protects minors from “experimental puberty blockers” and “irreversible, life-altering surgical procedures.”

“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.”

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After Zephyr’s remarks, House Majority Leader Sue Vinton quickly interjected to remind members to “debate matters civilly and with respect for each other.”

The trans lawmaker was, however, unapologetic, later sharing a clip of himself on social media and iterating that “when I said there is blood on their hands, I meant it.”

The Montana Freedom Caucus–comprised of more than 20 state lawmakers–swiftly condemned Zephyr’s comments and called for a formal censure.

“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…

This kind of hateful rhetoric from an elected official is exactly why tragedies such as the Covenant Christian School shooting in Nashville occurred.”

The group added in the press statement that,

“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.”

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The “Youth Health Protection Act” had passed the Montana legislature in March but was returned by Governor Greg Gianforte, who requested additional amendments be added to the bill, including a formal definition of “male” and “female” to include a person’s biological sex.

“‘ Gender affirming care’ for children is Orwellian Newspeak,” Gianforte wrote in a letter to Republicans urging the amendments.

“A seemingly innocuous, even solicitous phrase that masks its true nature of permanent, invasive, life-altering medical and surgical procedures, performed on children whose young minds and bodies are still developing.”

The amendments passed the Montana Senate and House this week and are expected to receive Gianforte’s signature.


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