A record-breaking number of anti-LGBTQ+ bills made their way through state legislatures in 2023. In April, Montana state representative Zooey Zephyr called out one such bill that would restrict gender-affirming care in her state, saying that those who supported it would have “blood on your hands”—setting off a chain of events that would make her one of the anti-trans bills’ most visible opponents coast to coast.
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The majority-Republican body formally disciplined Zephyr by banning her from in-person debates for this year’s legislative session, and allowing her to vote only remotely. But Zephyr kept showing up at the capitol to represent her district, fighting for a seat in the hallway, even as her access to entrances, bathrooms, and workspaces was deactivated. Protests and national outcry ensued over Zephyr’s punishment, which critics called extreme and undemocratic. The Montana bill passed, but in the months since, Zephyr—now widely known for her work to combat it—has continued to use her national profile to champion protections for transgender Americans.
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