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Jul 21, 2024  |  
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Declan Leary


NextImg:Nonbinary Nepotism

Two headlines from the New York Times on Friday: “A Transgender Lawmaker Is Exiled as Montana G.O.P. Flexes New Power” and “Montana Governor’s Nonbinary Son Calls on Him to Reject Transgender Bills.”

Man, things are really running off the rails.

The background here is a nasty dustup over three pieces of legislation making their way toward approval in the state. Senate Bill 99, which prohibits the surgical mutilation or chemical castration of children, was signed into law on Friday by Republican Governor Greg Gianforte. Senate Bill 458, which would clarify that “sex” refers to a biological binary in Montana law, faces one more vote in the coming days. House Bill 359, which would restrict obscene cross-dressing performances for audiences of minors in public spaces, will be worked out in a conference committee between the two chambers.

Gianforte’s son, David—a 32-year-old gay man who sometimes uses they/them pronouns—had been lobbying his father to veto all three bills, one of which is a simple matter of terminology and two of which are bare-bones protections for at-risk Montanan children.

The Montana Free Press published an interview with the younger Gianforte on Wednesday, which the New York Times was kind enough to repackage for a national audience. In a political fight defined by bizarre, counterproductive emotional appeals, this one might take the cake.

Opening a conversation on the subject, David told his father that he had “chosen to focus primarily on transgender rights, as that would significantly directly affect a number of my friends… I would like to make the argument that these bills are immoral, unjust, and frankly a violation of human rights.”

He is speaking, again, of a bill that would prevent adults in Montana from putting on lewd performances for kids, and a newly enacted law against permanently altering those same kids’ bodies in an attempt to overcome biological reality.

Here is a grown man, the feckless son of the ultra-wealthy governor of a red state growing redder, crawling to his father and pleading, “Dad, you have no idea how these anti-grooming laws will affect all of my friends!”

That’s bad enough, and it is not likely to win hearts and minds to the cause of the rainbow crusade. Yet it is another 30-something gay man who has drawn the real controversy to Montana’s slate of common-sense protections.

Zachary Raasch was born in Billings in 1988. A competitive high school wrestler, Raasch earned a dual bachelor’s degree in business administration and creative writing then spent a good part of his adult life as a competitive player of Super Smash Bros, a crossover fighting video game intended for young boys.

In 2019, he renamed himself “Zooey Zephyr” and began dressing as a woman. He struck up a relationship with Erin (ne Anthony) Reed, a formerly married man who is now a prominent transgender activist. In 2022, Zephyr hired a doctor to mutilate his genitals into simulated female organs. A few months later, he was elected to the Montana House of Representatives—spurred by outrage at the thought that young men might no longer be allowed a place on girls’ sport teams and in girls’ locker rooms.

A rollercoaster, to say the least, but it did not come off the tracks until a week and a half ago. On April 18, incensed by the prospect that Montana’s adolescents would go through natural puberty, Zephyr told supporters of S.B. 99, “I hope the next time there's an invocation when you bow your heads in prayer, you see the blood on your hands.”

The chamber’s leadership denied Zephyr the privilege of speaking on the floor until he apologized for the outburst. He refused, and the next week urged a mob of LGBT activists to disrupt the House’s activities until his privileges were restored. Seven members of Zephyr’s mob were arrested, and the body voted 68-32 to bar him from the floor until the end of the session next month.

Notably, Zephyr still maintains voting privileges, and is exercising them remotely. He has merely lost the privilege of physical presence in the legislative chamber after he and a mob of his supporters attempted to sway it from its established course by irrational brute pressure.

Yet regime media have bought hook, line, and sinker Zephyr’s claim that the move was some sort of “undemocratic” overreach by the House’s GOP supermajority.

The New York Times has even added some local color:

Izzy Milch, 25, who has long lived in Ms. Zephyr’s district and campaigned for her election, said Ms. Zephyr had an impressive command of policy and an ability to connect with her constituents. Mx. Milch, who uses they/them pronouns, said the legislative punishment was anti-democratic and antithetical to the state’s history.

As with the three agitators who derailed the Tennessee legislature last month with mobs and megaphones when the people’s elected representatives did not cave to their gun control demands, the left-wing media have gotten the question of “democratic” vs. “undemocratic” exactly wrong.

I will not pretend to support “democracy.” It is one of the less efficient ways man has conceived to direct social power toward an approximation of the natural law, and it tends to exacerbate the basest desires of society’s basest elements. Whenever and wherever it conveys authority to the likes of Zooey Zephyr, “democracy” must be crushed under the heel of justice.

Yet on this (if not in other things) we can meet Mr. Zephyr on his own terms. What is democratic about one raving lunatic holding a state’s whole political process hostage, not even because his delusions have not won out, but because he has been asked to observe some basic rules of decorum?

One hundred members sit in the Montana House of Representatives, standing for a total population of well over one million citizens. Zephyr represents the state’s 100th district—one of ten covering the sleepy college town of Missoula, a liberal exclave of just over 70,000 souls that voted 60 percent for Biden in 2020. (Zephyr himself was once a student there. As the Claremont Institute’s Jeremy Carl has uncovered in the only published dive into the man’s background, the legislator formerly known as Zachary Raasch tried to write but then abandoned a graduate thesis on transhumanism.)

What is democratic about the forty-odd-thousand left-wingers of Missoula claiming joint custody of the children of the million other Montanans?

Regardless, democratic means may quickly become obsolete, as the Zooey Zephyrs of the world gain ground in places less sane than Montana. Other red states should start doing math, and use them as they can before the hour grows too late.