These Queer Lawmakers Will Not Be Silenced
June 15, 2023
This year has brought a new level of anti-democratic behavior, particularly in state houses and legislatures. In March, Rep. Mauree Turner from Oklahoma was censured for offering a protester the use of an office in the aftermath of an arrest. In April, two Tennessee state representatives, Reps. Justin Jones and Justin Pearson, were ousted for speaking up for their constituents protesting against gun violence. And then in May, Rep. Zooey Zephyr was censured for her vocal opposition to a bill banning gender-affirming care for minors.
The retaliation experienced by these elected officials hints at the growing vulnerability of the right to express dissent in politics and government, a worrying trend. The rise in bans attacking the LGBTQ community is being met with protest, the foundational American mechanism we have for showing disapproval and standing up for our values in our representative democracy. When that right to dissent is threatened, we all are threatened, and the LGBTQ community is put even further at risk. Joining us today to talk about this silencing effect are Rep. Zooey Zephyr from Montana and Rep. Mauree Turner from Oklahoma.