MISSOULA — Voters elected the first openly transgender and non-binary candidates to the Montana Legislature this week.
House District 95 will be represented by non-binary Democrat SJ Howell in the upcoming legislative session.
House District 100 will be represented by Democrat Zooey Zephyr, a transgender woman.
As I was getting off the plane last night, a stewardess asked what I was so excited about. I told her I'd won my election & was the first trans woman elected in Montana.— Representative-elect Zooey Zephyr (@ZoAndBehold) November 9, 2022
She immediately teared up. "My son is trans," she said, & began to tell me about all the joys/fears... [1/3] pic.twitter.com/viHfMdWD3A
Both Zephyr and Howell told MTN that the 2021 Legislative session, which saw a number of bills that affected transgender and nonbinary individuals pass, influenced their decisions to run.
However, neither of the legislators wants to be single-issue issue lawmakers and said they want to represent the breadth of issues affecting Montanans.
When LGBTQIA+ issues do arise, both said they hope their presence will center the conversation on the people who will be affected by the legislation.
Both HD 95 and HD 100 roughly cover the core of Missoula from the railroad tracks downtown and west of Higgins down to South Avenue.
The first day of the 2023 Montana Legislative Session begins January 2.
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We won! (We’re still counting votes but with 75% of votes so far we’re feeling confident)— SJ Howell (@Howell4HD95) November 9, 2022
Thanks so much for all the support, hard work, and votes. I’m grateful to all of you who helped make this happen and can’t wait to work hard as your representative!#mtpol #mtleg #mtnews