Things That Matter

Zuri Moreno Made Sure The Trans Community In Montana Remained Safe

There’s no question that in metropolitan cities such as New York City, Los Angeles, and Miami, that gay rights must be respected. With such huge LGBTQ+ communities in those cities, Pride is like 4th of July, but in smaller cities and states that is not the case. There are still places, like Montana, trying to attack LGBTQ+ rights and one nonbinary Latinx activist stood up and defeated an anti-trans bill.

In Montana, lawmakers introduced a measure that would strip rights away from the trans community and one person would not have it.

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The bill — I-183 — would be a change a Montana law that would allow the permission to discriminate against transgender people.

I-183 would force people to use public accommodations like restrooms and locker rooms that align with the gender on their original birth certificate instead of the gender by which they live and identify.”

That means that a trans woman could not use a female bathroom and a trans man could not use a male bathroom. Furthermore, “I-183 would 1) make work, school, and recreation unsafe for transgender Montanans; 2) put local government and state agencies at risk of expensive, unnecessary lawsuits; and 3) fail to further protect anyone from assault or rape, as these things are already illegal in Montana. I-183 would also jeopardize your privacy by forcing you to prove your gender to anyone who requests to see your paperwork before you enter a public facility.”

Essentially, the Montana government was ready to tell trans people that they have to adhere to the sex they were assigned at birth. This would strip away the most basic right for trans people, and one most Americans enjoy, of self-determination.

Thanks to Zuri Moreno that bill never saw the light of day.

Moreno, who describes themselves as queer, nonbinary, multiracial, and Latinx, made sure their community remained safe in Montana and fought hard to make sure that the bill was blocked.

“My life and my passion focus on racial equity and access in the community,” Moreno said to The Advocate.

The LGBTQ+ community is no stranger to state and the federal governments from attacking their basic rights. North Carolina tried and failed to limit trans people from using the bathroom that aligns with their gender identity. Indiana tried passing a “religious freedom” bill that would have allowed anyone to legally discriminate against anyone in the LGBTQ+ community.

It is because of their fight for trans rights in Montana that The Advocate named them among the 2019 Champions of Pride.

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“Montana still does not have an explicit sexual orientation and gender identity nondiscrimination law,” the 32-year-old said to the magazine. “Although a handful of municipalities have passed local nondiscrimination ordinances, at the state level progress is hindered by transphobia, disinterest from non-LGBTQ people, and a lack of political will. There is still a lot of work to do around bringing awareness and dispelling misinformation about trans, nonbinary, and two-spirit identities.”

The federal government is also fighting over a similar measure. H.R. 5 and S. 788, also known as the Equality Act, is a simple piece of legislation that has been embroiled in legal battles for years. The Equality Act seeks to protect LGBTQ+ American from discrimination based on “sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity.” That’s right. The Equality Act would finally close loopholes in the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and legally address discrimination against women based on sex. So, the LGBTQ+ community and women would benefit if the Equality Act were passed.

READ: Show Your Pride And Allyship With These Colorful And Fun Rainbow Outfits

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