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Lawmakers debate free speech, respect for transgender students

A bill impacting how Montana students can refer to their transgender peers passed its first House vote Wednesday after pointed debate

Alex Sakariassen

Montana Free Press

Lawmakers in the Montana House engaged in pointed debate Wednesday about respect, faith and the ability of transgender, nonbinary and two-spirit students to feel safe in public schools.

The discussion centered on House Bill 361, a measure brought by Rep. Brandon Ler, R-Savage, to establish that referring to a fellow student by a gender they do not claim or a birth name they no longer use — known as misgendering and dead-naming, respectively — is not legally discriminatory behavior. In his opening remarks, Ler framed the proposal as a protection of...


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