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A transgender Montana state representative, who was suspended by the House of Representatives for criticizing colleagues for passing a transgender youth treatments ban, has sued to be reinstated to the House and partnered with the American Civil Liberties Union.
Democratic state Rep. Zooey Zephyr, a male who identifies as a woman and represents the 100th District, filed a suit in Montana’s First Judicial District Court seeking an injunction that would have the suspension overturned and force Montana House Speaker Matt Regier to recognize Zephyr on the floor during debates.
Zephyr had claimed that following criticism of Republican lawmakers for passing SB 99, the Youth Health Protection Act — which bans all transgender treatments for minors in the state — Zephyr was denied the opportunity to speak on the floor by Regier.
The lawsuit claims that the current Montana Legislature is “blighted with attacks on vulnerable individuals and communities in Montana. Those attacks are perhaps felt most acutely by members of the 2SLGBTQIA+1 community.” It adds that the suspension of Zephyr is “the culmination of those attacks … marginalizing transgender and nonbinary Montanans.”
Zephyr had alleged that the passage of the bill would cause many minors with gender dysphoria to attempt suicide absent hormonal procedures to affect changes in their physique.
In the final debate on the bill, Zephyr said, “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.”
On April 24, protesters against the legislation stormed the galleries of the House and shouted at Republican lawmakers on the floor in support of Zephyr, chanting, “Let her speak!”
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