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Florida Republican Calls Trans People 'Demons' and 'Mutants,' Then Apologizes

Florida Republican Calls Trans People 'Demons' and 'Mutants,' Then Apologizes

Florida Legislator Apologizes for Calling Trans People "Demons"

The Republican state representative made the comments during debate over a bill that would restrict access to bathrooms, changing facilities, and more.

A Republican legislator in Florida has apologized for calling transgender people “demons” and "mutants" during debate over a bill that would base access to bathrooms, locker rooms, and other facilities in the state on one’s reproductive abilities and assigned gender at birth.

State Rep. Webster Barnaby made the inflammatory comments after the committee heard testimony from transgender people during debate over Florida House Bill 1521 known as the Private Spaces Act.

“I’m looking at society today and it’s like I’m watching an X-Men movie with people that, when you watch the X-Men movies or Marvel Comics, it’s like we have mutants living among us on planet Earth. And, you know, some people don’t like that, but that’s a fact,” Barnaby said during debate on Monday. “We have people that live among us today on planet Earth that are happy to display themselves as if they were mutants from another planet. This is the planet Earth where God created men male and women female. I’m a proud Christian conservative Republican. I’m not on the fence. There is so much darkness in our world today, so much evil in our world today, and so many people who are afraid to address the evil, the dysphoria, the dysfunction. I’m not afraid to address the dysphoria or the dysfunction. The Lord rebuke you, Satan, and all of your demons and all of your imps who come and parade before us. That’s right. I called you demons and imps who come and parade before us and pretend that you are part of this world.”

RELATED: 7 Florida Bills That Threaten LGBTQ+ Rights Right Now

Barnaby then stated his “righteous indignation” was “stirred” and that he was “sick and tired” of the issue.

“I’m not going to put up with it,” he continued. “You can test me and try to take me on, but I promise you I’ll win every time.”

Barnaby’s resolve lasted only a short while, however, as he soon returned to at least partially apologize for his statements.

“I referred to trans people as demons,” Barnaby said. “I would like to apologize to the trans community for referring to you as demons.”

RELATED: Florida Lawmakers Unmoved by Trans Witnesses & Parents’ Pleas

Barnaby’s fellow legislators and constituents were outraged by his comments.

“Disgusting and unacceptable,” tweeted Democratic State Rep. Kristen Arrington.

Volusia County Sherriff Mike Chitwood chastised Barnaby, writing, "While we have Neo Nazis and other hate groups invading our area and targeting people for their faith, their ethnicity and their sexuality, our own state representative [Barnaby] wants to put another target on their backs."

The Republican sponsor of the bill appeared to immediately distance himself from Barnaby after his initial comments.

“I’m also a Christian man, and I just want to say to some of the folks in here who shared their testimony, I appreciated you coming up,” State Rep. Chase Tramont said on Monday. “You’re not an evil being. I believe that you’re fearfully and wonderfully made.”

RELATED: Florida House Passes Bill Extending 'Don't Say Gay' Law

Both houses of the Florida legislature have been debating bills (HB 1521 and SB 1674) that would limit access to bathrooms, changing facilities, correctional institutions, and domestic violence centers based on a person’s biological sex and what SB 1674 defines as their “specific reproductive role” of either producing eggs or sperm.

According to the proposed laws, the only time a person could enter the bathroom or changing facilities of the opposite sex would be to assist a child or an elderly or disabled person. The bill would exempt law enforcement and first responders on official business, and maintenance personnel cleaning or making repairs to the facilities. Additionally, domestic violence centers and correctional institutions would be required to provide housing and accommodations based on binary sex classifications as defined by the bill.

Following the debate and Barnaby’s comments, HB 1521 was passed out of committee.

After it passed, Barnaby apologized. “I referred to trans people as demons,” he said. “I would like to apologize to the trans community for referring to you as demons.”

The bill now heads to the full house for consideration.

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