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Montana lawmakers censure transgender representative over 'blood on your hands' remark

"When the speaker asks me to apologize ... on behalf of decorum, what he's really asking me to do is be silent when my community is facing bills that get us killed," Zephyr said.

Published: April 26, 2023 5:05pm

Updated: April 26, 2023 5:09pm

The Montana state House on Wednesday voted to censure Rep. Zooey Zephyr, the state's first transgender legislator, following the Democrat's opposition to a statewide ban on so-called gender affirming care for minors.

The House voted on Wednesday to censure Zephyr in a 68-32 vote, ABC News reported. The vote bars Zephyr from being recognized for the remainder of the legislative session.

Zephyr had warned state lawmakers they would have "blood on your hands," should they support SB99, the measure to ban gender-related care. Republican House Speaker Matt Regier subsequently refused to recognize Zephyr, who sought to comment on a separate measure. 

That incident sparked a demonstration within the House earlier this week, during which Zephyr's supporters chanted from the balcony. The bill ultimately cleared both chambers and Republican Gov. Greg Gianforte, who has expressed support for the measure, has proposed revisions.

Zephyr defended remarks that had prompted the censure prior to the vote, saying "I rose up in defense of my community that day, speaking to harms that these bills bring that I have firsthand experience knowing about. I have had friends who have taken their lives because of these bills."

"I have fielded calls from families in Montana, including one family whose trans teenager attempted to take her life while watching a hearing on one of the anti trans bills," the lawmaker continued. "When the speaker asks me to apologize ... on behalf of decorum, what he's really asking me to do is be silent when my community is facing bills that get us killed."

Ben Whedon is an editor and reporter for Just the News. Follow him on Twitter.

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