(As originally published with bells and whistles, Wed, April 12th 2023, 3:41 PM EDT)
A lawmaker in Florida is getting blowback after calling transgender people “demons” and “mutants.”
State representatives were discussing a bill called Facility Requirements Based on Sex — also known as the Safety in Private Spaces Act — at a Commerce Committee hearing on Monday.
Rep. Webster Barnaby, who has touted being “a proud Christian conservative Republican,” is not a sponsor or co-sponsor of the bill.
Barnaby did say he was “not on the fence” and would support the bill which would provide
“requirements for exclusive use of restrooms by gender,” meaning, “a person belonging, at birth, to the biological sex which has the specific reproductive role of producing” either (d) eggs or (e) sperm.”
Yet, according to NBC News, the elected official who represents people between Orlando and Daytona Beach felt the need to lash out at transgender people.
“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,” Barnaby said. “This is the planet Earth with God-created men, male, and women, female.”
But the man whose campaign website calls himself “a PRINCIPLED leader with Volusia County VALUES” (his capitalizations), and says he wants “to serve my community and make sure the blessings of liberty and the American Dream are available for my children and future generations,” wasn’t done speaking.
“That’s right,” he continued, repeating two words after he mentioned them in his previous sentence. “I called you demons and imps who come and parade before us and pretend that you are part of this world.”
Tuesday, the bill passed its committee vote. The Commerce Committee is made up of 15 Republicans and five Democratic members.
Barnaby said he was sorry, apparently for a portion of what he said.
I would like to apologize to the trans community for referring to you as demons,” is what NBC News quoted him as saying.
The bill would also require unisex bathrooms. People 18 or older who violate that would be guilty of a second-degree misdemeanor.
And, jails and prisons would have to house females and males “separately, based on their sex,” based on the bill’s definition.
Some of the interested people disclosed as lobbyists on this piece of legislation represent groups such as Florida Family Action, Florida Family Policy Council, and the Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops.
There’s a lot to unpack there,” is how CBS Late Show host Stephen Colbert started his analysis of Barnaby’s remarks about “people who live among us.
“It’s like I’m watching an X-Men movie,” Barnaby said. “Some people don’t like that but that’s a fact.”
Colbert discussed X-Men being from Earth, rather than anywhere else, and how great X-Men are.
He also explained their message, saying Stan Lee created them to show,
society should accept everyone no matter their differences.
Plus, Colbert said Lee created them as “a metaphor for civil rights and the franchise is explicitly a gay-rights parable.”
Then, Colbert accused Barnaby of “purposely misrepresenting these X-Men movies unless — unless — his mutant power is being a dumbass.
A lot of applause from the audience followed.
The bill is one of several targeting the rights of transgender people’s gender identities in schools, sports, and medicine. In Florida, it follows the so-called “Don’t Say Gay” bill passed last year and signed into law by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis.
Barnaby, in Florida, would’ve been subject to the state’s Jim Crow laws just a few decades ago.
Luckily for him, things changed enough for him to not only vote but appear on a ballot.
He’s vice chair of Florida’s Criminal Justice Subcommittee, and vice chair of the Constitutional Rights, Rule of Law & Government Operations Subcommittee.