Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte (R) is being lobbied by one of his children who identifies as gay and nonbinary not to sign legislation that would ban gender-affirming care for minors in the state, among other anti-transgender bills moving through the Helena legislature.
David Gianforte, who uses both “he” and “they” pronouns, says he met with his father late last month to urge him against supporting measures he called “immoral, unjust, and frankly a violation of human rights.”
“I felt somewhat of an obligation to speak with him about it. Otherwise I would regret the missed opportunity,” David said in an interview with the Montana Free Press published on Wednesday.
David, a 32-year-old Bozeman resident, said they initially reached out to their father via email, asking “as your constituent and your son” that he veto the bills — including one that defines sex as strictly binary in state law.
After making an appointment to meet in the governor’s office, the younger Gianforte said they read their father an official statement, which they provided to the Free Press.
“Hey Dad. Thanks for setting aside time to meet with me, it means a lot to me,” David said. “There are a lot of important issues passing through the legislature right now. For my own sake I’ve chosen to focus primarily on transgender rights, as that would significantly directly affect a number of my friends.”
The governor’s office told the Free Press that it would not discuss private conversations that Gianforte had with his family.
“The governor loves his family and values their thoughts, ideas, and perspectives,” his office said.
The anti-trans bills in Montana made national headlines this week after state Rep. Zooey Zephyr, one of the state’s first openly transgender lawmakers, was censured this week for criticizing Republicans who voted for the health care ban.
Zephyr was barred from the House floor for the rest of the session.
“There are many more eyes on Montana now,” she said in an interview with The Associated Press. “But you do the same thing you’ve always done. You stand up in defense of your community and you … stand for the principles that they elected you to stand for.”
“I stand in support of @ZoAndBehold and the entire LGBTQ+ community of Montana, which includes myself and many of my friends,” David Gianforte wrote on Twitter last week. “I have worked to oppose bills in the current MT Legislative session including SB 99 and SB 458.”