Montana Democratic Rep. Zooey Zephyr hoists a microphone into the air on Monday, April 24, 2023, as her supporters interrupt proceedings in the state House by chanting “Let Her Speak!” in Helena, Mont. Republican leaders in the Legislature didn’t let Zephyr, who is transgender, speak on the floor for the third consecutive day because she refuses to apologize for calling GOP lawmakers out for supporting a ban on gender-affirming care. InternationalIndiaAfricaWASHINGTON (Sputnik) – Law enforcement cleared the gallery of the Montana House of Representatives amid protests in support of trans representative Zooey Zephyr, who has not been allowed to speak on legislation in recent days after making comments deemed inappropriate by Republican colleagues. Earlier this month, Zephyr, spoke in opposition to a measure that would restrict gender-affirming care for minors 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,” Zephyr said. The statement came following a shooting at a Christian school in Tennessee last month by a suspect labeled by police as transgender. Zephyr’s comments drew criticism from some Republican legislators, who called for the representative’s censure. Montana House Speaker Matt Regier has since refused to allow Zephyr to speak in the chamber. On Monday, lawmakers upheld the speaker’s decision in a vote of 63-34, sparking protesters in the gallery to begin chanting “let her speak,” as Zephyr remained on the House floor and held up a microphone. Video footage from the state capitol appears to show members of law enforcement, donned in riot gear, clearing people from the gallery after the chamber was unable to restore order.
House gallery pic.twitter.com/AwqKwEVLwa
— Holly Michels (@hollykmichels) April 24, 2023
“I have stepped off the house floor to show support for those who were arrested defending democracy. I will be back as soon as I can,” Zephyr said in a statement via Twitter. The incident occurred as the Montana state legislature considers a number of bills related to transgender issues, including to restrict gender-affirming care for minors, ban drag on adult-oriented “drag” performances in public spaces with minors and address how trans students are referred to in the classroom.