Zooey Zephyr is an American politician and university administrator representing Missoula in the 100th district in the Montana House of Representatives. Zooey found herself in the spotlight this week when she organized a disruption of Montana House proceedings to protest a bill banning gender-affirming care for transgender youth in Montana.
On April 18, Rep Zephyr registered her opposition to a proposed bill banning gender-affirming care for transgender youth in Montana.
“I hope the next time there’s an invocation, when you bow your heads in prayer, you see the blood on your hands,” Rep Zephyr said about the high rates of suicide risk among transgender youth and adults.
She sparked a backlash last week when she said lawmakers would have “blood on their hands” if they restricted medical care for transgender youth.
Ahead of Wednesday’s vote, she vowed to “do what I have always done: I will rise in support of my community.” Republicans accused her of stoking violence and violating the chamber’s decorum with her comment.
The Montana House voted on Wednesday to censure Zephyr and was successful with a 68-32 party-line vote. Zephyr, now barred from participating on the House floor, said she would continue to stand behind her beliefs after the censure.
“As I left the House chambers, I pressed my light to speak—a reminder that this legislature is removing 11,000 Montanans from discussion on every bill going forward,” Zephyr tweeted. “I will always stand on behalf of my constituents, my community, and democracy itself.”
It seems that I forgot an essential element of this story. Zephyr was born Zachary Raasch in Billings, MT, and grew up in Montana and Washington State, where he was a champion high school wrestler. Zephyr decided to run for the Montana House because she saw a void in Trans Rights representation. She barely won the primary in 2022 but won her seat in the general election with a resounding 79% of the votes. 54% of Montana’s 100th District cast votes in the general.
My concern with Zephyr, or any trans or gay person in state or federal politics, is their narrow focus on LGBTQ+ issues. I find this true of Chris Pappas, who represents my district, NH District 1. When I receive his email recaps each week, the majority of the time, it is an LGBTQ+ issue he highlights that drew his attention. Does he not have equal concern for the problems of the other 98% of his constituents? I fear not.
According to the Pew Research Center, these are their findings regarding the Trans population in America:
Adults under 30 are more likely than older adults to be trans or nonbinary. Some 5.1% of adults younger than 30 are trans or nonbinary, including 2.0% who are a trans man or trans woman and 3.0% who are nonbinary – that is, they are neither a man nor a woman or aren’t strictly one or the other. This compares with 1.6% of 30- to 49-year-olds and 0.3% of those 50 and older who are trans or nonbinary.
The members of the Trans community have the right to equal representation but not more, and that is what is afforded them by their representatives.
I wrote today’s title with tongue in cheek because I believe Biden will seize the opportunity to show his support for the LGBTQ+ community by bringing Zephyr to the Oval as he did the Nashville 3. When he meets with Zephyr, the folks of East Palestine, Ohio, will again get bumped from the President’s schedule. After all, we all have priorities, and a bunch of Republicans from Ohio are not one of Biden’s.