Trans lawmaker Zooey Zephyr called out GOP transphobia. Now she’s blocked from speaking in the House

Zooey Zephyr on the Montana State House floor

Montana representative Zooey Zephyr has hit back against state Republicans for effectively silencing her, following a powerful speech on gender-affirming care.

The trans politician was reprimanded by state politicians, who voted to prevent her from speaking on any future bills after she shamed colleagues who voted for a recent anti-trans care bill.

Zephyr told lawmakers in a speech on Tuesday (18 April) that Montana Senate Bill 99, also known as the Provide for a Youth Health Protection Act, would be “tantamount to torture”.

The bill aims to halt all gender-affirming care for trans youth by preventing the administration of physically reversible puberty blockers.

Zephyr told the House at the time: “If you disallow the use of medical care that is accepted by every major medical association … the only therapy left is either meaningless or conversion therapy, which is torture.”

She went on to say that, following a response by majority leader Sue Vinton that the House “would not be shamed,” she hoped the 66 state members who voted for the bill would “see the blood on your hands”.

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In response to a politician debating a bill during a House floor debate, Montana Republicans demanded that Zephyr be censured for her speech, in a letter which also misgendered her.

The following legislative session, House speaker Matt Regier said he would refuse to recognise her going forward until she apologises for her speech.

“It is up to me to maintain decorum here on the House floor, to protect the dignity and integrity,” he said. “Any representative that I don’t feel can do that will not be recognised.”

Fellow Democratic House committee member Sharon Stewart-Peregoy responded to the order saying that she believed it to be falling into the realm of “fascism”.

“We are on a slippery slope today, I believe,” she said.

“The slippery slope is fascism because when we look at what happened historically in Germany, censorship is part of that.”

After a vote to uphold the speaker’s order won with 15 agreeing to uphold and seven rejecting the order, Zooey Zephyr tweeted a picture of her microphone turned on, but unable to work, leaving her unable to do her job.

“The Republican Party of Montana is refusing to allow me – a transgender representative – to speak on any bill. This is fundamentally undemocratic,” she said.

“I was elected to represent my 11,000 constituents. No silencing tactics will deter me from advocating for my community, my district, and all Montanans.

“My light is on and I am ready to speak.”

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