In Its Zeal To Bash Trans Kids, Sixth Circuit Shrugs Off Constitution, Supreme Court Precedent, Dignity

On Saturday, a three-judge panel of the Sixth Circuit broke cursed ground when it became the only court in the country to uphold a ban on gender-affirming treatment for minors. Because gay panic is how Republicans think they’re going to maintain their hold on power as a minority party, and if they can combine it with a bunch of bullshit handwringing about kids’ safety, so much the better!

Tennessee’s ban on puberty blockers for trans kids was set to go into effect July 1, with a 10-month grace period for children already reliant on medication to be forcibly de-transitioned or leave the state. Ignoring all evidence that forcing transgender children to live with their sex assigned at birth is associated with high risk of depression and suicidal ideation, the legislators declared that they “must take action” to deny them access to avoid children becoming “irreversibly sterile, having increased risk of disease and illness, or suffering from adverse and sometimes fatal psychological consequences.”

The “findings” in support of the law are extremely gross, accusing healthcare providers of preying on kids, posting nude photos of trans youth online to advertise their products, and likening them to purveyors of opioids. They even exploited the 2004 suicide of a Canadian man born in 1967 and raised as a girl after a botched circumcision to claim that allowing children to transition 56 years later is somehow experimental.


The statute bars healthcare providers from providing medical care “[e]nabling a minor to identify with, or live as, a purported identity inconsistent with the minor’s sex; or treating purported discomfort or distress from a discordance between the minor’s sex and asserted identity.” It allows for prosecution and lawsuits against healthcare providers, with no defense that they were providing medical care in cooperation with parents and their kids, and in accordance with accepted medical protocols.

Families of minor children requiring care sued to enjoin enforcement, and on June 28th, US District Judge Eli Richardson, a Trump appointee, issued an injunction, finding the law unconstitutional. The law clearly discriminates on the basis of sex, denying puberty blockers based on the chromosomal gender of the child, while allowing the same supposedly dangerous and untested treatments to be dispensed widely for other reasons:

Yet, the medical procedures banned by SB1 because they are purportedly unsafe to treat gender dysphoria in minors (which, as discussed above, necessarily means treatment for transgender minors) are not banned when provided to treat other conditions. Indeed, SB1 explicitly permits the very medical procedures that it bans for treatment of gender dysphoria, if those procedures are being used to “treat a minor’s congenital defect, precocious puberty, disease [excluding gender dysphoria], or physical injury.” Tenn. Code Ann. § 68-33-103(b)(1)(A). The record reflects that the same treatments received by minors for gender dysphoria are received by minors also for different conditions. (Adkins Decl. at 17–18) (explaining that cisgender girls with delayed puberty are treated with estrogen, and cisgender girls with polycystic ovarian syndrome (“PCOS”) are treated with testosterone suppression).

This trial court’s carefully reasoned 69-page opinion, allowed the ban on surgical transitions to go into effect, found that the statute violated the due process rights of parents to control their children’s medical care, and unconstitutionally discriminated on the basis of sex. The Sixth Circuit simply made shit up to reach the conclusion that it wanted in a 15-page order in which in managed to pack in several egregious lies about both facts and law.

“Parents, it is true, have a substantive due process right ‘to make decisions concerning the care, custody, and control of their children,’” they wrote, waving aside the trial court’s due process findings. “But the Supreme Court cases recognizing this right confine it to narrow fields, such as education. No Supreme Court case extends it to a general right to receive new medical or experimental drug treatments.”

In fact, parents have the right to manage their children’s medical care, with courts only interceding to force treatment in cases of life and death. Children can’t even get their ears pierced at the mall without parental sign-off, and it seems pretty doubtful that the court would have reached the same conclusion about parental rights if the state had instead mandated that all children received a covid vaccine before registering for public school.

And while the court may be technically correct with regard to “experimental treatments,” it’s simply a lie with regard to medical protocols endorsed by every major medical body in the country. Children have been taking puberty blockers for years without complication, and they certainly don’t cause irreversible sterility. That’s nonsense, although perhaps these dinguses really do believe it, since they seem to be under the impression that girls’ bodies don’t naturally produce testosterone, and boys’ bodies are estrogen-free zones.

The Act bans gender-affirming care for minors of both sexes. The ban thus applies to all minors, regardless of their biological birth with male or female sex organs. That prohibition does not prefer one sex to the detriment of the other. See Reed, 404 U.S. at 76. The Act mentions the word “sex,” true. But how could it not? That is the point of the existing hormone treatments—to help a minor transition from one gender to another. That also explains why it bans procedures that administer cross-sex hormones but not those that administer naturally occurring hormones. Tenn. Code Ann. § 68-33-103(b)(1)(A). A cisgender girl cannot transition through use of estrogen; only testosterone will do that. A cisgender boy cannot transition through use of testosterone; only estrogen will do that. The reality that the drugs’ effects correspond to sex in these understandable ways and that Tennessee regulates them does not require skeptical scrutiny.

That is not legal analysis. It’s gobbledygook, and it runs completely counter to the findings of Justice Neil Freakin’ Gorsuch in Bostock v. Clayton County, the case which held that discrimination against gay and trans people constituted discrimination on the basis of sex.

This passage as well is particularly offensive in its wholesale mischaracterization of the drug approval process:

That many members of the medical community support the plaintiffs is surely relevant. But it is not dispositive for the same reason we would not defer to a consensus among economists about the proper incentives for interpreting the impairment-of-contracts or takings clauses of the U.S. Constitution. At all events, the medical and regulatory authorities are not of one mind about using hormone therapy to treat gender dysphoria. Else, the FDA would by now have approved the use of these drugs for these purposes. That has not happened, however, giving us considerable pause about constitutionalizing an answer they have not given or, best we can tell, even finally studied.

That’s simply not how drugs are tested, as US District Judge Robert Hinkle wrote in his order that blocked a similar statute in Florida:

Obtaining FDA approval of a drug is a burdensome, expensive process. A pharmaceutical provider who wishes to market a new drug must incur the burden and expense because the drug cannot be distributed without FDA approval. Once a drug has been approved, however, the drug can be distributed not just for the approved use but for any other use as well. There ordinarily is little reason to incur the burden and expense of seeking additional FDA approval.

From a legal perspective, this order is a hot mess as well, finding that the trial judge abused his discretion when issuing a statewide injunction when only a handful of plaintiffs sued here.

“Absent a properly certified class action, why would nine residents represent seven million?” they ask, gormlessly affecting the posture of federal judges who believe that a class action is required to ban a law that is UNCONSTITUTIONAL ON ITS FACE.

Adding insult to injury, they go on to tut-tut about a rising tide of sweeping injunctions, citing to a bunch of nationwide injunctions issued by US District judges — and these two things are not the same.

In short, the whole thing is a lazy, hacky mess. Which is par for the course when it comes to Judge Amul Thapar, who signed onto the order written by Judge Jeffrey Sutton. Thapar was reportedly on the short list for Trump’s Supreme Court. (Cue the Psycho theme!)

It’s not clear whether the defendants will seek en banc review from the Sixth Circuit, or move for a stay from the Supreme Court. But this order is truly terrible and will certainly be appealed within the next 48 hours.

[L.W. v. Skrmetti, trial docket via Court Listener / L. W. v. Skrmetti, appellate docket via Court Listener]

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Chris Hayes is furious at the prospect of Florida kids not being physically and chemically mutilated

We’d suggest that someone at MSNBC do a wellness check on “All In” host Chris Hayes, but we already know what they’ll find when they show up at his house: a broken man in a fetal position, ranting incoherently about Ron DeSantis. And crying into his sweater, of course.

DeSantis has broken poor Chris’ already-fragile little brain by — *checks notes* — officially criminalizing the physical and chemical mutilation of minor children in the name of “gender affirmation.”

This was Chris last night on his show:

If you look closely enough, you can see the spittle forming in the corners of his mouth.

That’s an important point. It’s not as though Ron DeSantis pulled a Joe Biden and did an end-run around the legislature and issued a decree. The state house and senate passed the law, and DeSantis signed it.

And you know what? DeSantis was right to sign it. Because not only does it defend parental rights, but it defends the rights of minor children as well. Minor children who are not old enough to consent to radical surgery and chemical interventions.

Honest answer: Chris Hayes is pro-child-mutilation. Don’t take our word for it; take Chris’. His meltdown spilled over onto Twitter, where he continued to shame the people who are taking action to protect minor children. Action that is sadly necessary in 2023 because there are sickos out there like Chris Hayes who think 12-year-old girls need elective mastectomies and 12-year-old boys need their penises chopped off and the scraps twisted into something resembling a mangled vagina.

If we have kids, and we have to choose between trusting Chris Hayes or Ron DeSantis to have their best interests at heart, we’re picking Ron DeSantis every time. We’re picking the guy who isn’t fighting for the nonexistent “right” to wreak lifelong havoc on children’s developing bodies and brains.

Maybe when Chris was a kid, he needed someone to care about his developing brain, and nobody did. That would certainly explain how he ended up where he is now.

For Chris, it’s very simple: if it’s not woke, he’s against it.

Do you, though, Chris? How can you truly oppose it if you think it’s wrong for Ron DeSantis to give parents the right to know what medical procedures are being performed on their kids?

Ding, ding, ding!

Because he’s a hypocrite who, like Karine Jean-Pierre and Joe Biden et al., thinks all your children are belong to the State.

Spoiler alert: They’re not the good guys.

No! Mutilate them, says Chris. It’s healthy!

“It’s entirely about the ideology and not the medicine.” And that, ladies and gentlemen, is what we call shameless projection. The medicine says that puberty blockers are not only not reversible, but that they can cause lifelong health problems, including sexual dysfunction and sterility. It’s the people whose chief concern is pushing the ideology who pose a threat to vulnerable children who may or may not genuinely be struggling with their sexuality. Chris falls into that latter category. Chris is one of those people.

Again, it’ll be a cold day in hell before we allow Chris Hayes to have a say in what is and is not healthy for our kids.

Just admit it, Chris. Or — and we cannot emphasize this enough — you have the right to get bent.

***

Related:

Texas mom’s reaction to Texas bill banning ‘gender-affirmation care’ has us terrified for her kids

***

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You Got Your Abortion Bill In My Trans Ban!

There was a hell of a lot of news just yesterday about the ongoing effort to make sure women, children, and some men too don’t get any silly ideas about having bodily autonomy, so let’s dig right in, with the reminder that the GOP’s drive to ban abortion everywhere is hugely unpopular with everyone except the hardcore anti-abortion folks who now dominate the Gruesome Orc Party.

North Carolina: GOP Lege Overrides Veto, Passes 12-Week Ban


The Republican supermajority in both houses of the North Carolina Legislature voted Tuesday to override Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s recent veto, passing a ban on abortions after 12 weeks of pregnancy. The veto override wouldn’t have been possible in the state House without the party switch by state Rep. Tricia Cotham, who suddenly announced in April that she had decided to become a Republican. That move cemented a two-thirds GOP majority in the House, and now we’re sure Cotham is very happy with her 30 pieces of flair from GOP donors. Back in ancient times — i.e., January of this year — Cotham cosponsored a bill that would have codified abortion rights into state law, but honestly, who remembers January any more? We have a feeling that voters may remember Cotham’s switcheroo in 2024.

Yesterday’s vote means that there are now no states south of Virginia and east of New Mexico where abortion remains legal and relatively easy to obtain. Even inside the 12-week limit, abortions in North Carolina will require a 72-hour waiting period between an initial visit and the actual provision of abortion services, even for medical abortions using mifepristone, if it remains legal. Doctors must be present when patients take the pill as well. [Politico]

National: Appeals Court Hears Abortion Pill Ban Today

The federal appeals court in New Orleans is hearing oral arguments today in the unspeakably shoddy lawsuit to reverse the FDA’s 2000 approval of the abortion drug mifepristone. The lawsuit, custom made for Matthew Kacsmaryk, a Trump-appointed federal judge in Texas, should have been laughed out of court from the start because the plaintiffs have no plausible standing in the case, and because the alleged “scientific” evidence that the FDA wrongly approved the drug is crap, but then, that’s the Trump judiciary we have. The case is being heard in the notoriously rightwing Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals by a three-judge panel consisting of two Trump appointees and a GW Bush appointee, all of whom have histories of supporting abortion restrictions. One of the judges, Trump appointee James Ho, called abortion a “moral tragedy” in a 2018 opinion, and you just ignore the research showing that 99 percent of women who’ve had abortions continue to believe it was the right choice even several years later. They’ve all been brainwashed to rationalize their decision, you see.

In addition to the bullshit Texas case, the appeals court will also hear the case from Washington state that ruled the FDA can’t reverse its approval of mifepristone. That case has been combined with the one from Texas. In April, the Supreme Court issued a stay on enforcement of Kacsmaryk’s ruling, meaning that mifepristone will remain available at least until the Fifth Circuit rules in the case at some point following today’s arguments. Whatever the outcome, get ready for the entire shitshow of legal uncertainty to start all over again until the case eventually gets to the Supreme Court. [NBC News / AP]

Montana: Greg Gianforte Signs Abortion Restrictions Days After State Supreme Court Upholds Abortion Rights

In Montana Tuesday, Republican Gov. Greg Gianforte body-slammed reproductive freedom by signing four anti-abortion bills, which included a 12-week ban on all dilation and evacuation abortions after 15 weeks. Other restrictions signed by Gianforte will add new regulations on clinics and restrict Medicaid coverage for abortions.

As the Montana Free Press reports, Gianforte’s approval of the abortion restrictions came just days after the Montana Supreme Court

upheld a nearly 25-year-old legal precedent allowing abortion access under the state Constitution’s right to privacy. That case, Weems v. State, found that advanced practice nurse practitioners with proper training can provide abortions in Montana and reaffirmed that women have a fundamental right “to seek abortion care from a qualified health care provider of her choosing, absent a clear demonstration of a medically acknowledged, bona fide health risk.”

But then, what does the state supreme court know about state law anyway? Gianforte issued a statement saying he was “proud to round out our legislative session with another suite of pro-life, pro-family bills that protect the lives of unborn babies in Montana,” and if your family includes anyone who thinks they need an abortion, then clearly it’s not a real family.

The legislation is likely to face a legal challenge, what with the earlier state supreme court ruling. Also, as the Montana Free Press notes, the legislation

bars “dismemberment abortion,” a nonmedical term that the legislation defines in part as “the use or prescription of any instrument, medicine, drug, or other substance or device” to intentionally terminate pregnancies and the “insertion of grasping instruments” to remove a fetus.

The law includes exceptions for the treatment of ectopic pregnancies, and for “medical emergencies,” which of course can be a dicey determination that leads to delays of any treatment until a patient is close to death. Planned Parenthood of Montana immediately filed a motion in state court Tuesday to prevent the new law from being enforced. [Montana Free Press]

Nebraska: GOP Breaks Filibuster Of Anti-Trans Bill By Adding Abortion Ban, Because Why Not Oppress Everyone?

Finally, the GOP’s two most repulsive movements to restrict human freedom merged in Nebraska yesterday, as Republicans in the state’s unicameral Legislature sought to use a ban on abortion to break the three-month filibuster against the Republicans’ attempts to ban gender-affirming care for transgender minors. Democratic state Sens. Machaela Cavanaugh and Megan Hunt (who has a trans son, aged 12) have been absolute BOSSES in their ongoing efforts to kill the anti-trans bill, refusing to allow any legislation at all to move forward until Republicans dropped it. And it worked for months, until yesterday.

Independent reporter Erin Reed reports that in the latest attempt to move the anti-trans bill, LB 574, Republican state Sen. Ben Hansen amended the bill with a ban on abortions after 12 weeks. (Really 10 weeks, since pregnancy by statute “begins” with the the patient’s last missed period.) In addition, his amendment hands all authority on rules related to healthcare for trans youth to the state’s Chief Medical Officer, who of course was appointed by the Republican Gov. Jim Pillen. Says Reed,

While some may label this as a compromise, it feels like a more radical turn. It underlines the unsettling truth that the battles over gender-affirming care and abortion rights are not separate, but rather two faces of the same coin, driven by the same factions, using the same justifications to limit access to vital care.

The amendment technically drops the part of LB 574 that forbids puberty blockers and hormone therapy, instead only banning gender-affirming surgical procedures for anyone under the age of 19. That seems like a compromise, since the vast majority of trans people don’t seek surgery until after they’re adults anyway.

Oh, but then there’s the catch: By transferring all authority to set rules on gender affirming care to the state’s Chief Medical Officer, the amendment simply shifts the banning of puberty blockers and hormone treatment from the Lege to that appointed bureaucrat, Dr. Timothy Tesmer, who will almost certainly eliminate the treatments — and would also be free to add other restrictions that weren’t in the original version of LB 574. Sneaky, huh?

The amended bill moved forward last night in a procedural vote that broke the filibuster by a single vote.

Sen. Cavanaugh this morning gave a powerful speech evoking the words of Montana state Rep. Zooey Zephyr, condemning the dishonest tactics used by Republicans in forcing an end to the filibuster by combining two Republican obsessions, punishing women for having sex, and punishing trans people for existing:

“You literally have to cheat at every moment of this debate. In every possible way, you are cheating. […]

“Women will die. Children are dying. It is your fault. It is your fault! And you are allowing it to happen. You DO literally have blood on your hands, and if you vote for this you will have buckets and buckets of blood on your hands.”

After a final round of debate today, the combined measure is likely to pass — and then the fight to protect trans young people’s lives will shift to the courts. Sen. Hunt noted minutes ago on Twitter that she’s already getting death threats, but she’s not afraid. The more the bastards attack people’s rights to be themselves and to have autonomy over their own bodies, the more they will lose. She also eloquently pointed out that the Nebraska case makes clear once and for all that these are not separate issues (and for that matter, neither are the attacks on schools and libraries).

“Trans rights are directly tied to the greater fight for reproductive rights and bodily autonomy – we are all in this fight together, no one is siloed away from being impacted by the rollback of our collective rights.

“What’s happening in Nebraska is proof.”

Americans are not going to stand for this, and we all need to come together to protect our rights. Get ready for a long fight, and organize, organize, organize. We’ll close with a prayer from Rev. Molly Ivins, from her final column. She was talking about the Iraq War and George W. Bush, but it applies here, today, just as well; just substitute “women and trans kids” for “troops” and it’s right on target:

We are the people who run this country. We are the deciders. And every single day, every single one of us needs to step outside and take some action to help stop this war. Raise hell. Think of something to make the ridiculous look ridiculous. Make our troops know we’re for them. […] We need people in the streets, banging pots and pans and demanding, “Stop it, now!”

Amen.

[Erin in the Morning / Omaha World-Herald / Photo: Ted Eytan, Creative Commons License 2.0]

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Montana Silences Zooey Zephyr

The Montana Legislature this week took up a raft of legislation aimed at eliminating trans people. One bill would write transgender people out of the state’s legal code, requiring that birth certificates, drivers licenses, and even death certificates list only a person’s sex at birth. Another would allow public school teachers to deliberately misgender trans students, with no provision for parents to instruct schools to use the child’s preferred pronouns. A third would amend an anti-porn bill to ban “acts of transgenderism” from any website that doesn’t require age verification, treating most LGBTQ sites as if they were porn.

Finally, both houses passed a final version of Senate Bill 99, which not only bans gender-affirming medical care for minors but also will require trans minors to immediately stop taking their medication, forcing them to begin detransitioning. (At least, unlike in Missouri, adults will be able to continue their medical care. For now.) That’s to “protect” them by forcing them to experience puberty as the sex with which they don’t identify. The bill provides for both civil lawsuits and criminal prosecution against any healthcare provider who “harms” a trans youth by giving them the care recommended by virtually all medical and mental health professional organizations in the US.

PREVIOUSLY: What IS Gender Affirming Health Care For Kids Anyway, Because Texas Is Super F*cking Lying About It Right?

Missouri Attorney General Singlehandedly Bans Care For Trans Adults Too, No Law Required

SB 99 passed both houses once, but Gov. Greg Gianforte sent it back with amendments that, among other things, got rid of the word “procedures” to ensure that all medical treatment was banned — get it, because your medication isn’t a “procedure” — and more extensively defined “sex” more comprehensively around reproductive organs, declaring, “In human beings, there are exactly two sexes, male and female, with two corresponding types of gametes,” do not pass GO, do not collect a tiara if you have a dong. The amended bill passed Wednesday and went to Gianforte for his signature, once more over the protests of pediatricians and other medical professionals who warned again that trans kids will be harmed.

That, after all, was the point.


Blood On Their Hands

It was, finally, too much for first-term state Rep. Zooey Zephyr, Montana’s first trans legislator, who gave a blistering condemnation of the bill, as well as the cover letter Gianforte sent the House regarding his requested amendments. Please watch this speech, since it may well be the last time the Republican supermajority allowed Rep. Zephyr to speak in defense of the trans community.

youtu.be

Zephyr rejected Gianforte’s assertion that SB 99 would “protect” Montana children, saying that forcing puberty on a trans young person amounts to torture. She also rejected his notion that the bill still allows “psychotherapy to treat young Montanans struggling with their gender identity.” But without the transitional medical care that’s actually the proper treatment for gender dysphoria — puberty blockers, with the option of hormone treatment later (most people delay surgery until after they’re 18 anyway) — Zephyr correctly pointed out that the only “psychotherapy” that remains would be “conversion therapy, which is torture.”

But the real fire of Zephyr’s comments was reserved for the state Legislature and for the fraud of SB 99 itself, with its attempt to legislate all humans into a gender binary, an idea as ridiculous, Zephyr said, as legislating that the Earth is flat. As for the claim that “life altering” medical treatment must be delayed until adulthood, Zephyr said,

“If you are forcing a trans child to go through puberty when they are trans, that is tantamount to torture. This body should be ashamed.”

House Majority Leader Sue Vinton (R) objected to that, saying that her caucus “will not be shamed.”

Nevertheless, Zephyr persisted.

“Then the only thing I will say is that 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.”

Vinton and nearly all the other Republicans stood to object, and Vinton said that Zephyr’s comments were “inappropriate, disrespectful and uncalled for.”

Freedom’s Just Another Word For Shut Up And Sit Down

Within hours, the “Montana Freedom Caucus” tweeted out a call for Zephyr to be censured, claiming that the Legislature is a place for “civil discourse” while deliberately misgendering Zephyr in both the tweet and the attached press release, and lying that her comments had been “threatening.” We suppose that actually recognizing the blood on their hands might scare them, though.

Zephyr also tweeted a letter from an ER doctor who recently wrote to her that a colleague had treated a suicidal transgender teen who said that they mostly wanted to die because the were constantly being told that their very existence was wrong. The teen

“referenced the current legislative session and told my partner, ‘My state doesn’t want me.’ Please consider that statement and let it sink in. This young teen is so distressed by the laws that you all have been discussing and passing, that they were driven to want to kill themselves.”

Zephyr prefaced the letter by saying, “When I said there is blood on their hands, I meant it.”

This Isn’t Legislating, This Is Genocide

Then yesterday, the House finished debate on SB 458, which enshrines in state law that binary definition of “sex” as either male or female, and nothing else. The law — which is probably unconstitutional, as if that matters anymore — effectively writes trans people out of 41 sections of Montana law. For instance, it specifies that the state’s law against discrimination now means that “a person may not be subjected to discrimination because of sex, as defined in 1-1-201, race, creed, religion, age, physical or mental disability, color, or national origin.” That section, of course, is the bit saying “there are exactly two sexes, male and female,” etc.

Another clause notes that the state’s “fair campaign practices” code means that candidates will pledge to “not make any appeal to prejudice based on race, sex, as defined in 1-1-201, creed, or national origin” — in other words, campaigning on prejudice against trans folks is apparently 100 percent ethical in Montana.

Housing and job discrimination against trans people? Completely legal now. And birth and death certificates and drivers licenses can only list the person’s sex at birth. You’ll be permanently misgendered even in the grave.

You get the idea.

We’re Republicans, We Can Do What We Want

As Zephyr stood to voice her objections to the bill, House Speaker Matt Regier (R), refused to recognize her, which prompted a formal objection from Minority Leader Kim Abbott (D) and other Democrats. Regier said that as speaker, he decides who will speak and who won’t, and that’s that: “It is up to me to maintain decorum here on the House floor, to protect the dignity and integrity, and any representative I don’t feel can do that will not be recognized.”

The Democratic objection led to a meeting of the Rules Committee, where after some debate, the Republicans voted that Regier does indeed have the power to decide who can participate in debate, or not. But before that, the Rs tossed in an incidental threat to also silence Native American Rep. Sharon Stewart Peregoy (D), for warning that the Legislature was headed down a slippery slope to fascism, how dare she.

Regier later told reporters that unless Zephyr properly apologizes for her rude behavior, she won’t be allowed to speak again for the remainder of the 2023 legislative session, which is likely to run for another two weeks or so.

Zephyr made clear that she has nothing to apologize for, because these bills are going to kill trans kids, just as hatred has already killed trans people:

“I have lost friends to suicide this year,” she said. “I field the calls from multiple families who dealt with suicide attempts, with trans youth who have fled the state, people who have been attacked on the side of the road, because of legislation like this. I spoke with clarity and precision about the harm these bills do. And they say they want an apology, but what they really want is silence as they take away the rights of trans and queer Montanans.”

The Montana Democratic Party and the Montana American Indian Caucus both issued statements condemning the silencing of Zephyr, as well as the Montana Freedom Caucus for misgendering her. The latter statement also praised Zephyr for “speaking up for the Montana trans, nonbinary, and Two-Spirit community,” and condemned the legislature’s passage of laws that “spread disinformation and fear, prevent them from receiving life-saving health care, ban their self-expression, and erase them from all public life.”

Fascist Creeps And Creeping Fascism

Montana’s silencing of Zooey Zephyr is proof that Republicans haven’t learned anything at all from the backlash to Tennessee Republicans’ attempt to silence two Black Democrats who spoke up (without permission, egad!) against gun violence.

Or maybe the Montana GOP did learn something. The House speaker silenced her even though there was no censure resolution at all. Just to add to the farce, the Montana “Freedom” Caucus celebrated Zephyr’s silencing with another press release that flat out lied, claiming that the Legislature had “officially” voted to censure Zephyr. Of course, no such vote happened, just the Rules Committee vote affirming that Regier can silence anyone he wants.

Not like anyone will be allowed to call that a lie in the House. Wouldn’t be civil.

[Erin in the Morning / Daily Montanan / Montana Free Press]

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