Montana governor lobbied by nonbinary son to reject anti-trans bills | Montana

The son of the Republican governor of Montana, Greg Gianforte, met his father in his office to lobby him to reject several bills that would harm transgender people in the state, the Montana Free Press reported.

David Gianforte told the paper he identifies as nonbinary and uses he/they pronouns – the first time they disclosed their sexuality publicly. They told the outlet they felt an obligation to use their relationship with their father to stand up for LGBTQ+ people in the state.

“There are a lot of important issues passing through the legislature right now,” they said in a statement. “For my own sake I’ve 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.”

The governor, who assaulted a Guardian reporter in 2017, responded with an email that said: “I would like to better understand your thoughts and concerns. When can we get together to talk about it? Love, Dad.”

Brooke Stroyke, a spokesperson for the governor, declined to comment to the Montana Free Press.

“The governor loves his family and values their thoughts, ideas, and perspectives,” Stroyke said. “Our office will not discuss private conversations between the governor and members of his family.”

Republicans across the US have moved to restrict transgender rights. Ten bills in the Montatna state legislature this session target transgender people, according to, an online tracker.

Those bills including measures that would deny gender-affirming care to minors and limit the definition of sex in state law, which could limit legal protections for transgender people. Another bill prohibits drag shows on any public property or places where minors are present.

On Tuesday, the state legislature voted to ban Zooey Zephyr, a transgender Democratic lawmaker, from the statehouse floor. Zephyr previously told lawmakers they would have “blood on their hands”.

David Gianforte told the Montana Free Press he didn’t expect his lobbying to ultimately change the outcome of the bill.

“I feel like I have a voice and I can be heard,” they said. “And I feel, not only in communicating with my father, that’s not necessarily the main point, but also just showing support for the transgender community in Montana. I think that could be meaningful, especially at this time.”

Greg Gianforte pleaded guilty in 2017 to a charge of misdemeanor assault after he attacked the Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs on the eve of his election to the US House. Gianforte received a six-month deferred sentence and served no jail time. He became Montana governor in 2021.

A few weeks after the meeting between the governor and David, the governor sent the legislation banning transgender-affirming care back to the legislature with revisions. David said the press release accompanying those changes was “bizarre”.

“It’s bizarre to me to read the press release that my father put out,” David said. “He talks about compassion toward children, the youth of Montana, while simultaneously taking away healthcare from the youth in Montana.

“It’s basically a contradiction in my mind.”

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