On Friday, Montana joined an alarming number of states to ban gender-affirming health care for minors when its Republican governor, Greg Gianforte, signed a bill that had been condemned as “unconscionable” by the state’s first openly transgender lawmaker.
Gianforte, who catapulted to the national spotlight in 2017 after body-slamming a Guardian reporter, signed the legislation despite protest from his nonbinary son, David Gianforte.
“For my own sake, I’ve chosen to focus primarily on transgender rights, as that would significantly directly affect a number of my friends,” David said in a statement that was read to his father last month. Referring to the proposal to restrict transition health care for kids and separate legislation to expressly define sex as binary in Montana code and ban drag performances from public spaces. David added, “I would like to make the argument that these bills are immoral, unjust, and frankly a violation of human rights.”
According to an email exchange seen by the Montana Free Press, the governor expressed a willingness to discuss the issue and hear his son’s concerns. But the subsequent conversations, both in email and in person, don’t appear to have swayed Gianforte from approving the bill to block transition health care for minors.
While speaking out against the anti-LGBTQ bills earlier this month, Zooey Zephyr, the state’s first and only openly trans lawmaker, said she hoped that the next time supporters of the bill prayed, they would see “blood on [their] hands.” The remarks prompted the state’s GOP to ban Zephyr from speaking or voting from the floor.