The Phoenix Flyer

Florida GOP House member calls members of trans community ‘demons,’ ‘mutants’

By: - April 10, 2023 6:13 pm

State Rep. Webster Barnaby speaks at an anti-abortion rally on the steps of the Historic Florida Capitol Building. May 24, 2022. Credit: Danielle J. Brown

A Florida House Republican member Monday referred to members of the transgender community as “mutants” and “demons” in a two-minute speech in a House Committee meeting.

Volusia County Republican Webster Barnaby was addressing the House Commerce Committee following a debate about a measure that would criminalize transgender adults who intentionally enter a restroom or changing facility opposite their sex at birth. (Video available here via Equality Florida’s Twitter account).

“I’m looking at society today and it’s like I’m watching an ‘X-men’ movie with people, when you watch the X-men movies from 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,” Webster said. “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!” he went on to say. “Where God created men, male, and women, female. I’m a proud Christian conservative Republican. I’m not on the fence. Not on the fence.”

Barnaby went on to add that there “was 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 disfunction. I’m not afraid to address the dysphoria or the disfunction. The Lord rebuke you Satan, and all of your demons and all of your imps who come 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.”

Orlando Democrat Anna Eskamani blasted Barnaby’s comments immediately afterwards.

“Truly unacceptable for any member of the Legislature to refer to the public that testifies as “demons and imps” which is what just happened during the Commerce Committee during the debate on the bill to ban trans people from using the bathroom that reflects their gender identity,” she tweeted.

Joe Saunders, a former Florida Democratic representative and now senior political director for Equality Florida, tweeted: “When a FL far right lawmaker says the quiet part out loud we see that the emperors have no clothes. This has always been at the root of the wave of anti-LGBTQ hysteria sweeping our state.”

Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.

Mitch Perry
Mitch Perry

Mitch Perry has covered politics and government in Florida for more than two decades. Most recently he is the former politics reporter for Bay News 9. He has also worked at Florida Politics, Creative Loafing and WMNF Radio in Tampa. He was also part of the original staff when the Florida Phoenix was created in 2018.