Montana House Speaker Silences Transgender Lawmaker

Thursday, the Montana House speaker forbade a transgender member from speaking about bills on the House floor unless she apologized for claiming that lawmakers would have “blood on their hands” if they backed a measure that would have prohibited gender-affirming medical care for transgender children.

Rep. Zooey Zephyr, who was purposefully misgendered by a conservative group of lawmakers calling for her censure after her statements on Tuesday, said she won’t apologize, resulting in a deadlock between the first-term state lawmaker and Republican legislature leaders.

Zephyr attempted to comment on a bill that would have attempted to establish a binary definition of male and female into state law on Thursday, but Speaker Matt Regier refused to acknowledge her.

Regier said on Thursday, “It is up to me to maintain decorum here on the House floor, to protect the dignity and integrity.” And I won’t recognize any representatives who I don’t think can accomplish it.

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Regier claimed that comparable issues have previously existed and that the decision was reached following “multiple discussions” with other parliamentarians.

Despite Democratic objections, Regier’s ruling was supported by the House Rules committee and the House on party-line votes.

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