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Who is Zooey Zephyr?

Montana state representative Joey Zephyr was the state’s first transgender lawmaker Banned by the Republican-controlled House from participating on the House floor for the remainder of the 2023 session. Zephyr, who will be allowed to vote on legislation remotely, called the decision “a sickening affront to democracy” and vowed to remain committed to serving his community.

Who is Zooey Zephyr?

Zephyr, 34, ran for office in 2022, describing herself as a “progressive, bisexual trans woman” who wanted to run because she believes “the best way to fight for social and economic justice is to get into the room where the legislation is being written.” “

He won the election with 79.3% of the vote and took office in January, representing Montana’s 100th House District, which includes the city of Missoula.

Zephyr was born in Billings, Montana and later attended the University of Washington but returned to his home state as a graduate student and then staff member at the University of Montana. Zeffir worked in the university’s biology department and later in the provost’s office and worked to bring diversity, equity and inclusion to the school’s faculty. According to one of his tweets, he also plays video games competitively.

Zephyr ran on a platform of fighting for voting and human rights, including trans rights and prison reform, according to his website. He said he plans to focus on areas where Montana is failing — housing inequality, health care, infrastructure and climate change.

Why was he disciplined?

In recent months, Zephyr said, the Legislature has “launched a relentless attack on the LGBTQ+ community” by introducing laws that would undermine the community. He opposed a bill similar to one introduced in Tennessee — and one that would have banned drag queens from performing That would prohibit gender-affirming care As for transgender youth, said lawmakers will have “blood on their hands” if they support the bill.

He refused to apologize for the comments, and during a debate last week, Speaker Matt Rezier refused to acknowledge him, saying he was tasked with maintaining decorum on the House floor and that he felt any disruption to lawmakers would not be recognized.

Not only did Reiger ignore Zephyr when the House debated a bill that would establish a binary definition of male and female in state code, he also refused to recognize her during other debates, she said. Lawmakers also misgendered Zephyr several times.

Montana’s Republican Party is refusing to allow me — a transgender representative — to speak on any bills. It is fundamentally undemocratic.

My light is burning, and I am ready to speak for those who elected me. pic.twitter.com/pdijLUQsCc

— Rep. Zooey Zephyr (@ZoAndBehold) April 20, 2023

The House GOP wanted punitive consequences for Zephyr and Voted to ban him from private debate and voting April 26, sparking protests from his supporters. The American Civil Liberties Union of Montana also condemned the decision.

In a statement later posted on social media, Zephyr said he was denied the ability to represent his 11,000 constituents in the debate. Still, he vowed to continue serving his community and “tirelessly advocate for democracy in the state of Montana.”

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Caitlin O’Kane


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