David Gianforte, the nonbinary son of Montana’s Republican Gov. Greg Gianforte, has been lobbying their father to oppose the legislature’s anti-trans bills.
32-year-old David’s conversation with the Montana Free Press was the first time they spoke publicly about their gender identity. They said it felt like their duty to speak up and use their influence as the state legislature contemplates three bills to ban gender-affirming care, outlaw drag performances in front of minors, and define sex as exclusively binary and biological.
“I feel like I have a voice and I can be heard,” David 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.”
David met with their father during the workday like an average constituent. They said their family doesn’t talk much about politics or their identity, and they felt coming at this in a more professional manner made the most sense.
“He was very willing to meet with me,” David said.
David told their father that the bills “would significantly directly affect a number of my friends” and “are immoral, unjust, and frankly a violation of human rights.”
According to David, the governor was very open to hearing his son’s concerns but ultimately decided to express support for the gender-affirming care ban and even propose amendments to strengthen it.
In his letter to the legislature, Gov. Gianforte called the term gender-affirming care “Orwellian Newspeak” that “masks its true nature of permanent, invasive, life-altering medical and surgical procedures on children.” All of this, even though minors almost never receive gender-affirming surgery and instead are treated with reversible puberty blockers. Additionally, major medical organizations like the American Medical Association, American Psychological Association, and American Academy of Pediatrics support age-appropriate gender-affirming care.
In the same letter, the governor claimed his “heart goes out” to trans people and that they “deserve love, compassion, and respect.”
David blasted the hypocrisy: “It’s bizarre to me to read the press release that my father put out. He talks about compassion toward children, the youth of Montana, while simultaneously taking away health care from the youth in Montana. It’s basically a contradiction in my mind.”
They also posited that their father is under immense pressure to follow others in the Republican Party.
“He is concerned about his career. He has particular issues that he focuses on, such as jobs and the economy. And he’s aware that being able to stay in the position of governor is dependent on him staying in favor of the Republican Party, and I believe that that affects his decisions on some of these bills.”
David has also been speaking out to support trans Montana state Rep. Zooey Zephyr (D), who Republicans just banned from the state house chamber in retaliation for supporting protestors who shared her opposition to the anti-trans legislation.
“I stand in support of @ZoAndBehold and the entire LGBTQ+ community of Montana,” David tweeted last week, “which includes myself and many of my friends. I have worked to oppose bills in the current MT Legislative session including SB 99 and SB 458.”