Montana transgender lawmaker Zooey Zephyr sues Republicans over ‘terrifying’ vote to expel her from statehouse

Zooey Zephyr stands in protest as demonstrators are arrested in the House gallery at the state capitol in Helena, Montana on 24 April (AP)

Zooey Zephyr, a transgender Montana lawmaker who was barred from the state House of Representatives for criticising a slate of anti-trans bills, has filed a lawsuit against the body’s top Republican officials.

The suit, brought alongside the ACLU of Montana, alleges that the Montana House leadership violated Ms Zephyr’s First Amendment rights.

“This effort by House leadership to silence me and my constituents is a disturbing and terrifying affront to democracy itself,” Rep Zephyr, the first transgender representative elected to the legislature in Montana history, said in a statement.

“House leadership explicitly and directly targeted me and my district because I dared to give voice to the values and needs of transgender people like myself,” she added. “By doing so, they’ve denied me my own rights under the Constitution and, more importantly, the rights of my constituents to just representation in their own government. The Montana State House is the people’s House, not Speaker Regier’s, and I’m determined to defend the right of the people to have their voices heard.”

It also seeks the Missoula Democrat’s reinstatement to the legislature.

This is a breaking news story and will be updated with new information.