Transgender Montana Rep ‘Will Not Be Recognized’ Unless Apology Issued For ‘Hate-Filled’ Testimony

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A transgender Montana lawmaker has been effectively silenced by the state House speaker after the representative made “hate-filled” accusations against Republicans during deliberations on an amended bill that would ban sex-change treatment for children.

Republican House Speaker Matt Regier refused to recognize transgender Democratic Rep. Zooey Zephyr on April 20 when the latter attempted to comment on an amended bill that would set a binary definition of male and female into the state code, the Associated Press (AP) reported.

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

Zephyr took an impassioned stance against a bill April 18 that would ban sex changes for youth who identify as transgender. After claiming the bill was “tantamount to torture,” Zephyr went on to shame Republicans for supporting it, The New York Times (NYT) reported.

“This body should be ashamed,” Zephyr said Tuesday. “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.” (RELATED: Lawmaker Says Girls Will ‘Cut Off Their Own Breasts’ If They Aren’t Given Sex Changes)

The Montana Freedom Caucus moved to censure Zephyr for the “hate-filled” rhetoric later that same day, calling the language Zephyr used “inappropriate and uncalled for.”

“This kind of hateful rhetoric from an elected official is exactly why tragedies such as the Covenant Christian School shooting in Nashville occurred,” the Freedom Caucus contended, adding a “desire for some to engage in violence over political beliefs … must stop.” (RELATED: Former Justice Accuses GOP Opponents Of ‘Jihad’ For Amendments Against Judicial Activism)

Zephyr argued the bill was targeting the LGBTQ community and said as a member of that community, the representative felt compelled to take a stance. “I stand up to defend my community,” Zephr said, according to AP. “And I choose my words with clarity and precision and I spoke to the real harms that these bills bring.”

Democratic state Rep. Marilyn Marler reportedly attempted to defend Zephyr on Thursday, telling the Republican-led House they were “denying” Zephyr the opportunity to “do her job.”

Majority Leader Sue Vinton deflected Marler’s statement. “I will let the body know that the representative … has every opportunity to rectify the situation,” Vinton said before adjournment Thursday, according to AP.

A first-time legislator and the first transgender woman to be elected to Montana’s legislature, Zephyr has refused to apologize, AP reported. The amended bill Zephyr argued against, which would ban hormone treatments and surgeries for transgender youth, passed with strong support in the Republican-led House and is expected to be signed into law by Republican state Gov. Greg Gianforte, according to the NYT.