Montana Lawmaker Vows to Fight On, Despite Being Silenced

by Joshua Brown
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Rep. Zooey Zephyr from Montana has recently been silenced in the state House of Representatives because she voiced her opinion about gender-affirming care for children. Although she can’t speak up in the chambers, Rep. Zephyr is sure her message will reach a lot of people at home and elsewhere around the U.S.

Zephyr told Big Big News, “Montana is getting much more attention now. But it’s important to remember that you are here to protect your community and uphold what they believe in.”

Last week, Zephyr suddenly became famous when she spoke out against a proposed bill that would ban medical treatment for transgender minors. The Republicans who supported the bill got mad at her, and wanted her to apologize. Instead she refused. Now Zephyr is a major figure in the fight for transgender rights across America and the issue of whether people should be silenced in official meetings like statehouses are in debate again.

Zephyr, 34-years-old and elected for the first time last November, is getting a lot of attention. On Thursday morning she’ll be stopped from going onto the Montana House floor as the majority of Republicans voted against her being there for the rest of the session.

The people in charge decided to take action against her for joining a protest that happened during the meeting on Monday. Demonstrators were angry because she wasn’t allowed to join any discussions in the House after she made a comment. Even after the Speaker asked her to apologize, she still stood by what she said.

This week, Regier said that the Montana House won’t let anyone bring them into submission. He also mentioned that the only individual who is stopping Zephyr from speaking is Zephyr herself.

In her interview with the AP News, Zephyr compared the efforts of people to keep her quiet to something similar that happened in Tennessee when their lawmakers told two African-American representatives to leave for participating in a protest about gun control after a shooting killed six people. The two representatives were allowed back afterwards.

A woman said that when young Black men say there is a gun violence problem in the country, some legislators don’t take it seriously and do nothing about it. Tennessee lawmakers refused to pass laws on this issue, but they sent a strong message by expelling all Black lawmakers who voiced their opinion: “Your voices aren’t wanted here.”

Tennessee’s GOP leaders believed that taking action was necessary so that lawmakers won’t be able to interrupt House proceedings with protests. Zephyr has been receiving a lot of attention from other lawmakers all over the nation. On Tuesday, Tennessee Rep. Justin Pearson, one of the legislators who had already been asked to leave previously this month, shared his opinion that what was happening in Montana is not honoring democracy.

“We will not be quiet and let democracy get taken away. We are ready to stand up and fight for what’s right, from Memphis all the way to Montana!” he tweeted.

State Senator Megan Hunt of Nebraska also spoke out against a new rule which would ban gender-affirming care. She said that attacking Rep. Zephyr in Montana is an attack on everyone.

Senator Hunt has a transgender son and she was served notice Wednesday that someone had complained about her fighting against this proposed rule change – like they were trying to silence her!

Hunt thinks it’s important to speak up and fight against a bad, radical movement that is spreading across different states. Zephyr isn’t scared and still wants to carry out her work of representing the people she was elected to help.

People from around the world and even representatives in some places are not being heard when talking about important issues. Even though no one is around to witness, staff at a certain building will thank them for speaking up. Two Associated Press reporters reported this story from Salt Lake City and Omaha, Nebraska.

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