Zooey Zephyr

August Payton Photography


“For me the question has always been, ‘What room can my voice do the most good in?’” Montana State Representative Zooey Zephyr says. “Now that I find myself invited into more rooms—both media interviews as well as conversations with organizers and politicians across the country—I am continually asking myself, ‘What is the best way to do good in this room?’” Last year, Zephyr became the first out trans woman elected to the Montana state legislature. She was inspired to run for office after state legislators passed a bill banning trans women and girls from scholastic sports teams in 2021—legislation which Zephyr had spoken out against before the state’s governor and legislature. Now a representative in that same legislature, she’s been banned from speaking on the chamber floor since April 20 after speaking out again, this time against a bill banning gender-affirming care for youth (which passed). Although she may not be able to speak on the floor unless she’s reelected next year, Zephyr continues the good fight (even until the end, she worked on the bench outside chambers until the legislative season was up, serving her constituents as best as she could). “My womanhood, my transness, my bisexuality, the fact that I’m a renter, the fact I need access to health care to maintain my quality of life—all of these deeply inform the way in which I look at, debate, and ultimately vote on bills,” she says. “Each lens informs my actions. And the hope is that my lenses, in conjunction with my colleagues’ lenses, can help us see the full picture as we work to craft policy for the state of Montana.”

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