Montana’s first transgender legislator, Rep. Zooey Zephyr, who made national headlines recently after being censured by the state House, got engaged to her girlfriend, trans activist and writer Erin Reed, at a queer graduation event in Missoula , Montana, on Friday.
«Now more than ever, it’s vital to encourage and appreciate queer joy,» the couple said Monday in a joint statement to NBC News. «We are so incredibly lucky to have found each other and to work side by side, looking out for each other and standing up for our community together.»
Now, they can do that job for the rest of their lives, they said.
«Words cannot express how much it fills our hearts to see the news of our engagement bringing so much happiness to the community when it is needed most,» the couple said. «We love each other very much, and seeing our love resonate with so many reminds us that queer love will live forever.»
Zephyr gave a speech at Missoula’s gay prom on Friday and described the importance of different types of love, including communal love and interpersonal love.
As she addressed the crowd, Zephyr invited Reed to stand next to her.
«I couldn’t do the things that I do in that legislature without her coming home every night,» Zephyr, a Democrat, said of Reed. «I think about love, and I think about trans love that has existed throughout history, in the past, in the future and in the present moment, and I am so blessed to have Erin by my side.»
At one point, Zephyr asked Missoula’s queer prom-goers if they would share a moment with her, then turned and proposed to Reed. The room erupted in applause, and Reed said yes.
Rush wrote in his newsletter on Monday that she was happy to share the joyous story with her readers after what she and Zephyr recently experienced.
Last month, the Montana House of Representatives voted to censure Zephyr, excluding her from the House floor and only allowing her to vote on legislation remotely, after she was accused of inciting protesters in the chamber for two days. before.
The events began when Zephyr told colleagues on the House floor on April 18 that they would have blood on their hands if they supported a bill that would ban gender-affirming care for minors.
House Republicans asked her to apologize for the comment in the name of propriety, but she refused, and they voted not to allow her to speak for three days. Protesters descended on the Capitol on the third day, April 24, and chanted «Let her talk!» from the gallery of the House. Zephyr defiantly raised her microphone into the air. Two days later, House Republicans voted to censure her for the rest of the legislative session, which ended last week.
The bill to ban gender-affirming care for minors finally passed and was signed into law by Gov. Greg Gianforte, a Republican, making Montana one of 18 states with laws restricting such care.
Since Zephyr’s censorship, she shared on social media that she and Reed have been the targets of swatting, which is a stalking technique in which someone falsely reports an emergency situation to the police in an effort to send the police to someone’s home.
Reed wrote in his newsletter, which focuses on transgender rights, which the couple met about a year ago through their work in LGBTQ rights activism. Reed is one of three researchers who have helped create a complete list of more than 500 state bills LGBTQ rights so far this year.
Reed, who resides in Washington, DC, said it wasn’t long before she and Zephyr began taking cross-country trips to visit each other. She said they talked about getting engaged, but they talked about waiting until the summer.
«Clearly Zooey had other plans,» Reed wrote.
«In a world where trans people often face hardship and their lives are scrutinized, Zooey and I had the opportunity Friday night to present an alternative view,» Reed wrote. «In this world, joy takes center stage, allowing us to create a world we are proud to inhabit, where love wins. I am honored to embark on this journey with you.»