Montana House votes to censure transgender Rep. Zooey Zephyr

Helena, Montana - The Montana House voted in favor of censuring Democratic Representative Zooey Zephyr, the state's first openly transgender legislator, roughly one week after Zephyr was blocked from speaking for voicing her criticisms of a bill that seeks to ban gender-affirming care for minors.

The Montana House voted 68-32 in favor of censuring Rep. Zooey Zephyr, the first openly transgender legislator in the state, on Wednesday.
The Montana House voted 68-32 in favor of censuring Rep. Zooey Zephyr, the first openly transgender legislator in the state, on Wednesday.  © REUTERS

On Wednesday, the Montana House voted 68-32 in favor of censuring Rep. Zephyr, which bans the first-time rep from attending or speaking during floor sessions. Now, she will only be allowed to vote remotely in the legislative session's remaining days.

House leadership was considering expulsion, but later took it off the table and opted to censure Rep. Zephyr instead.

On Tuesday night, Zephyr, posted a photo on Twitter of a letter she received that stated "during tomorrow's floor session there will be a motion to either censure or expel me."

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Per NPR, Zephyr has been blocked from speaking in the Montana House since last week when she sounded off about supporters of a bill that aims to ban gender-affirming care for minors, telling them there was "blood on [their] hands."

In a hearing prior to Wednesday's censure vote, Zephyr told House members: "I have had friends who have taken their lives because of these bills ... When I rose up and said, 'There is blood on your hands,' I was not being hyperbolic."

She added, "If you use decorum to silence people who hold you accountable, all you are doing is using decorum as a tool of oppression."

The vote to censure Zephyr comes nearly three weeks after the Tennessee House voted to expel Reps. Justin Jones and Justin J. Pearson for leading a protest calling for gun control after a mass shooting occurred at a Nashville elementary school, leaving six dead. Both Jones and Pearson were later reinstated.

Cover photo: REUTERS

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