Montana state Rep. Zooey Zephyr (D) was named in the 2023 Time “100 Next” list for her opposition against bills that restrict gender-affirming care, which gained her national recognition.
In April, Zephyr was outspoken against a bill prohibiting gender-affirming medical and surgical care for minors in Montana, saying the bill’s supporters would have “blood on your hands.” The bill was one of a record-breaking number of anti-LGBTQ bills across the country in 2023, Time reported.
The state’s Republican majority banned her from debating in this year’s session in person. Zephyr arrived at the state Capitol “to represent her district, fighting for a seat in the hallway, even as her access to entrances, bathrooms, and workspaces was deactivated,” Sanya Mansoor wrote in Time.
Her ban gained national attention and sparked protests. The bill ultimately passed, but Zephyr was included in this year’s list of most influential people by Time because she “has continued to use her national profile to champion protections for transgender Americans.”
Zephyr was elected to the Montana House of Representatives in 2022 and is the first openly transgender member to be elected to the state Legislature in Montana.
The Time “100 Next” list was launched in 2019 to spotlight rising leaders in various fields.
“Through this process, we get to know so many extraordinary leaders who are creating change across the world,” said Cate Matthews, a Time editorial director. “Our hope is that this list offers a glimpse into their important work.”
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