Seven arrested for protesting a Montana legislative session where GOP prevented a transgender legislator from speaking on the floor

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  • Montana's House speaker has repeatedly refused to recognize state Rep. Zooey Zephyr on the House floor.

  • After the House speaker forbid her from speaking on Monday, Zephyr's supporters interrupted the legislative session with chants.

  • Seven of the protestors were arrested, and a group of Republicans are calling for her to be disciplined.

Law enforcement arrested seven Montanans on Monday who were part of a crowd that interrupted a legislative session after Republican state leaders continued to block a transgender legislator from speaking on the House floor.

Democrat Zooey Zephyr is the first transgender woman to serve as a state legislator in Montana. As the Montana state legislature debated a bill banning youth access to gender-affirming care in mid-April, Zephyr had harsh words for the Republican-led body.

"If you vote yes on this bill, 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.

Following her speech, a group of Republicans in the legislature called for her to be censured. And while a formal censure has yet to occur, Montana House Speaker Matt Regier has repeatedly refused to recognize her to speak on the floor since she chastised the body.

After days of Zephyr not being given permission to speak about bills on the House floor, her supporters rallied at the steps of the state capitol before packing into the gallery of the Montana House to watch the day's proceedings.

When a bill restricting students from changing their names and pronouns without parental permission was brought to a discussion on Monday, Zephyr registered to speak but once again was not recognized by Regier, leading to outcries from the gallery.

"Bullshit," one person yelled, according to the Montana Free Press.

"Let her speak!" rang the audience in the gallery, leading Zephyr to lift her microphone up in support.

Shortly after, members of law enforcement escorted the protestors out of the gallery, ultimately arresting seven and charging them with criminal trespassing.

The Montana Freedom Caucus — the same group that called for Zephyr to be censured — published a press release demanding "immediate disciplinary action" against her for the "encouragement of insurrection."

On Monday evening, Zephyr tweeted out a release in response to the accusations.

"When my constituents and community members witnessed my microphone being disabled, they courageously came forward to defend their democratic right to be heard — and some were arrested in the process," Zephyr wrote. "I stood by them in solidarity and will continue to do so. As an elected representative, I am devoted to supporting those who speak in defense of democracy, as it is my duty to ensure their voices are heard and respected."

Read the original article on Business Insider