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Montana Gov. Signs Gender-Affirming Care Ban, Ignoring a Plea From His Own Son

Gianforte’s son, who is nonbinary, told him “these bills are immoral, unjust, and frankly a violation of human rights.”

Montana Republican Governor Greg Gianforte speaks in Emigrant, Montana on July 24, 2021.

Weeks after Montana Republican Gov. Greg Gianforte’s son called on him to veto a bill to ban gender-affirming healthcare for minors, the governor signed the legislation into law Friday, making Montana the 11th state in the past three months to enact full or partial bans on transition surgery, hormonal treatment, and puberty blockers for youths.

Gianforte’s son, David, is nonbinary and uses he and they pronouns. He appealed to his father in a meeting in March as the bill was moving through the Republican-controlled legislature, telling him the ban “would significantly directly affect a number of my friends.”

“I would like to make the argument that these bills are immoral, unjust, and frankly a violation of human rights,” David said.

Despite the meeting, the governor signed Senate Bill 99 into law on Friday.

David told The Montana Free Press on Wednesday that his father is “concerned about his career” and is “aware that being able to stay in the position of governor is dependent on him staying in favor of the Republican Party.”

The law has been at the center of state House Republicans’ silencing of Rep. Zooey Zephyr (D-100) in recent days. Speaker Matt Regier (R-4) refused to recognize her on the House floor after Zephyr, the state’s first transgender lawmaker, told Republicans they would have “blood on their hands” if they backed S.B. 99. Earlier this week, the GOP majority voted to bar Zephyr from the House floor until the end of the legislative session.

Zephyr was greeted with cheers from her constituents and supporters in Missoula on Friday evening as transgender and nonbinary Montanans and their allies rallied against the gender-affirming care ban and other anti-LGBTQ+ legislation.

“It’s clear that anti-trans policies do not align with Montana’s values,” Zephyr told The New York Times Friday. “We are a state that cares for its community. There are trans people through every community in this state.”

The ACLU of Montana has said it will file a legal challenge against the gender-affirming healthcare ban.

Access to transition care has been linked to a sharp decrease in the rate of suicidal ideation and depression among transgender youths, and is strongly supported by the American Academy of Pediatrics as well as other health associations.

Gianforte also signed a bill this week that will make it harder for public school students to be disciplined for misgendering nonbinary or transgender classmates.

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