During a debate over a bill that would prevent people from using bathrooms “designated for the opposite sex,” Rep. Webster Barnaby, R-Deltona, lashed out against the several transgender Floridians who spoke out against the bill. He called transgender Floridians “demons and imps” and compared them to “mutants from another planet” during a committee hearing. He compared the speakers, who included transgender Floridians and parents of transgender children, to the X-Men, characters from the Marvel comic books in which bigotry, hatred, and fear of mutants are central themes.
The comments appeared to stun lawmakers. The bill sponsor, Rep. Rachel Lora Saunders Plakon, R-Lake Mary, tried to distance herself from the comments, saying she felt it was valuable for the public to speak on bills.
A few minutes later, Barnaby apologized after the committee had already moved on to another bill.
Barnaby’s comments came after several transgender Floridians and parents of transgender children spoke out against HB 1521.
The bill defines a female as a person who, at birth, had the “reproductive role of producing eggs” and defines a male as a person who, at birth, has the “reproductive role of producing sperm.”
The bill also says schools will set their own disciplinary procedures for children who enter a restroom for the opposite sex and refuse to leave when asked.