BUTTE — A transgender woman who was banned from speaking at the Butte Public Library finally got the audience she was seeking here in Butte and spoke before a crowd of almost 100 people.
“I guess before a came here there was a bit of a controversy so—apparently I was going to be tranning the children and bewitching the men folk,” said Adria Jawort.
Joking aside, the city prevent Jawort from her June 2 library speech out of fear it would violate the state recently adopted House Bill 359 that prevents sexually-oriented or drag show performances at public schools or libraries. The Butte America Foundation responded by rescheduling her event at the Carpenter’s Union Hall building.
Many people came out to support her.
“It all became so strange and political. I’m so glad that the Carpenter’s Union Hall is allowing people to come today; it’s fantastic to have a safe place for people who have alternative ideas,” said Butte resident Melody Rice.
John Ray added, “Even more importantly to show support for freedom of speech, freedom of thought and opposition to censorship.”
Jawort, who psyched herself up with a little dance before her speech, spoke about the two-spirit concept in Native American culture of a person being born with both masculine and feminine characteristics. She even shared her personal struggles when she was a young boy dealing with the guilt of feeling like a girl.
“I was just like crying my eyes out and stuff, praying for forgiveness. And I always want to go back to that poor kid and be like, ‘Hey, there’s like literally nothing wrong with you and stuff,’” said Jawort.
Jawort, who is a Billings native, said she was delighted by the reception she received in Butte.
“I was very overwhelmed by the reception, very positive vibe in here. It was like, immediately felt warm and welcoming,” she said.