UNITED STATES NEWS

Montana Republicans want censure while misgendering lawmaker

Apr 19, 2023, 1:46 PM

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — A group of conservative Republican lawmakers in Montana deliberately misgendered a transgender colleague in demanding that she be censored for language she used on the floor while speaking against a bill that would ban gender-affirming medical care for children.

The Montana Freedom Caucus posted its demand on Twitter Tuesday evening — on letterhead bearing the names of 21 lawmakers — arguing that Democratic Rep. Zooey Zephyr should be punished “for trying to shame the Montana legislative body and by using inappropriate and uncalled-for language during a floor debate.”

The caucus called for a “commitment to civil discourse,” while misgendering Zephyr in the same sentence. The caucus also misgendered Zephyr in the Tweet.

“It is disheartening that the Montana Freedom Caucus would stoop so low as to misgender me in their letter, further demonstrating their disregard for the dignity and humanity of transgender individuals,” Zephyr said in a statement Wednesday. “Their call for ‘civility and respect’ is hypocritical given their actions.”

Lawmakers were debating Republican Gov. Greg Gianforte’s proposed amendments to the transgender medical care bill on Tuesday when Zephyr, referring to the prayer given prior to every floor session, 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.”

House Majority Leader Sue Vinton stood and said: “I will note that this is entirely inappropriate, disrespectful and uncalled for. We can debate matters civilly and with respect for each other.” Vinton had earlier risen in opposition to Zephyr’s statement that lawmakers should be ashamed of themselves if they supported the bill.

“The language used by the so-called Freedom Caucus, including the intentional and repeated misgendering of Rep. Zephyr, is blatantly disrespectful and the farthest thing imaginable from the ‘commitment to civil discourse’ that these letter writers demand,” House Minority Leader Kim Abbott said in a statement. “I find it incredibly ironic that these legislators are making demands of others that they refuse to abide by themselves.”

Republican Sen. Theresa Manzella, chair of the Montana Freedom Caucus, did not immediately respond to emailed questions Wednesday. Madison Atkinson, the spokesperson for the House Republicans, did not respond to an email asking if the House planned to censure Zephyr. No motion was made on Wednesday.

The exchange is an example of the polarization seen in legislatures around the country as they debate bills affecting the transgender community.

Earlier this month in Kansas, House lawmakers overrode Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly’s veto of a bill banning transgender female athletes from girls’ and women’s sports from kindergarten through college. Two LGBTQ+ Democratic lawmakers were upset because they believed Republicans were gloating over the vote.

Rep. Heather Meyer, who also has a transgender son, stood, opened her jacket and displayed a “Protect Trans Youth” T-shirt before making a rude gesture as she left the chamber. Rep. Susan Ruiz yelled at GOP members, briefly cursing at them before being told she was out of order.

In a number of states, transgender people who have testified against legislation that target their rights have been met with demeaning questions and rhetoric from Republican lawmakers.

Zephyr began her comments Tuesday by criticizing a letter from the governor explaining his proposed amendments to the gender-affirming care bill. In it, the governor said he had met with transgender residents and said Montanans who struggle with gender identity deserve love, compassion and respect.

“That’s not what trans Montanans need from you,” Zephyr said. “We need access to the medical care that saves our lives.”

“I stand by my accurate description of the devastating consequences of banning essential medical care for transgender youth,” Zephyr’s statement said. The gender-affirming care ban “is part of an alarming trend of anti-trans legislation in our state, which includes over a dozen unconstitutional bills. These bills ban our art forms, our stories, our healthcare, and our very existence in Montana code.”

The legislature has considered a bill that sought to ban drag story hours, but it has been amended. It has passed a bill saying it’s not illegal discrimination for a school student to misgender or deadname a fellow student, unless it rises to the level of bullying. The legislature also is moving another bill to put a binary definition of male and female into state code.

Zephyr said Tuesday that lawmakers and the governor had received a letter from an emergency room physician who said a transgender teenager cited the legislature’s actions as the reason for their suicide attempt. “My state doesn’t want me,” the doctor reported the patient as having said.

The House gave final approval to the governor’s amendments Wednesday. The Senate must still give the bill its final approval before it goes to Gianforte for his signature.

___

Associated Press writer John Hanna in Topeka, Kansas, contributed to this report.

United States News

Associated Press

Man in custody after 4 found dead in Brooklyn apartment attack, NYPD says

NEW YORK (AP) — The New York Police Department says it has taken a man into custody in connection with the deaths of a grandmother, a mother and her two children in the family’s Brooklyn apartment. Police said in a statement Saturday that officers responded to a report late Friday night of an assault, and […]

17 minutes ago

Passengers wait at Benito Juárez International Airport in Mexico City, Friday, July 19, 2024. Some...

Associated Press

8.5 million computers running Windows affected by faulty update from CrowdStrike

As the world continues to recover from massive business and travel disruptions caused by a faulty software update from cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike, malicious actors are trying to exploit the situation for their own gain. Government cybersecurity agencies across the globe and even CrowdStrike CEO George Kurtz are warning businesses and individuals around the world about […]

2 hours ago

FILE - This April 18, 2024, photo released by the Utah Department of Corrections shows death row in...

Associated Press

Utah scraps untested lethal drug combination for man’s August execution

Utah officials said Saturday that they are scrapping plans to use an untested lethal drug combination in next month’s planned execution of a man in a 1998 murder case. They will instead seek out a drug that’s been used previously in executions in numerous states. Defense attorneys for Taberon Dave Honie, 49, had sued in […]

3 hours ago

Associated Press

Plane crash near Ohio airport kills 3; federal authorities investigating

VIENNA, Ohio (AP) — A plane trying to make an emergency landing at an airport in northeastern Ohio crashed, killing all three people aboard, authorities said. The Federal Aviation Administration said Saturday that the twin-engine Beechcraft 60 went down near the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport in Ohio at about 6:45 p.m. Friday. The Ohio State Highway […]

4 hours ago

Firefighters battle a fire at First Baptist Dallas church on Friday, July 19, 2024, in Dallas. (Chi...

Associated Press

A fire severely damages the historic First Baptist Dallas church sanctuary

A fire all but destroyed the historic church sanctuary at First Baptist Dallas, sending smoke billowing over the city but causing no deaths or injuries, Dallas firefighters said. The fire in the Texas Historic Landmark, a Victorian-style red brick church built in 1890, was reported about 6:30 p.m. Friday, and contained about three hours later, […]

5 hours ago

Associated Press

New Hampshire Gov. Sununu signs bill banning transgender girls from girls’ sports

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Republican Gov. Chris Sununu of New Hampshire has signed a bill that would ban transgender athletes in grades 5-12 from teams that align with their gender identity, adding the state to nearly half in the nation that adopted similar measures. The bill passed by the Republican-led Legislature would require schools to […]

7 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Beat the heat, ensure your AC unit is summer-ready

With temperatures starting to rise across the Valley, now is a great time to be sure your AC unit is ready to withstand the sweltering summer heat.

...

Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines can get you smoothly from Phoenix to Frankfurt on new A330-900neo airplane

Adventure Awaits! And there's no better way to experience the vacation of your dreams than traveling with Condor Airlines.

...

Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.

Montana Republicans want censure while misgendering lawmaker