Florida GOP Representative Cites X-Men In Bigoted Comments Regarding Transgender People


Oscar Wilde said it best in his essay from 1889 titled The Decay of Lying, “Life Imitates Art More Than Art Imitates Life.” this certainly was the case in a recent legislative hearing in Florida when State Rep. Webster Barnaby likened transgender people to Demons, Imps, and Mutants.

During a House Commerce Committee meeting held on Monday that regarded the Safety in Private Spaces Act,” (HB1421) State Representative Webster Barnaby dared to liken transgender people to Demons and Imps and compare them to Mutants from Marvel’s X-Men. He argued in favor of a bill that would make it a crime for transgender people in Florida to use public restrooms consistent with their Gender Identity. The Hill also mentioned that the bill would make it a second-degree misdemeanor for adults in Florida to use a public restroom or changing facility inconsistent with their sex assigned at birth and task schools with establishing disciplinary procedures for students who violate the proposed law.

The new measure would also require state correctional institutions to house inmates based on their sex at birth rather than their gender identity, conflicting with federal guidelines.

“It’s like I’m watching an X-Men movie, we have mutants living among us on planet Earth. Some people don’t like that, but that’s a fact.”

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.

The Lord rebuke you, Satan, and all of your demons and all of your imps will come parade before us,” he said. “That’s right, I called you demons and imps who come and parade before us and pretend that you are part of this world.

My righteous indignation is stirred, I am sick and tired of this. You can test me and try to take me on, but I promise you I’ll win every time.”


Alejandra Caraballo, Host of the Podcast Queering the Law, shared a video clip on Twitter of Mr. Barnaby speaking during the Committee Meeting on Monday:

Webster Barnaby later would issue an apology. Barnaby said that he was sorry for the comments he made to the Transgender Community, but the comments he made during the committee meeting that was directed at several Transgender Speakers took both Democratic and Republican Lawmakers by surprise, even making his colleagues make an effort to distance from his remarks.


His colleague, Republican State Rep. Chase Tramont, told the people who spoke out against the proposed legislation, I believe that you are fearfully and wonderfully made, and I want you to live well. State Rep. Kirsten Arrington, a Democrat who spoke immediately after Barnaby’s comments reassured the opponents of the bill that there are many here that understand you and support you.

The LGBTQIA+ Community has been demonized for too long. Barnaby’s comments are an example of what ignorance looks like. It is when you have traded your sense of morality and willingness to help your fellow man for power and a chance to help pass laws that cater to fragile egos and fragile masculinity. Let’s also mention that the party that Barnaby represents is run by people who are willing to take away and censor someone’s first amendment rights to express themselves and free speech to push lies about not only transgender and gay people but about elections that are stolen, be unwilling to pass or propose gun reform laws, spread misinformation to make a profit behind closed doors, to have a false sense of security.


Now, you must be curious about the point of including a quote from Oscar Wilde’s Essay. It was an observation regarding how often certain elements from the real-world that leap onto either the pages of a book or on television and films. For example, since Mr. Barnaby has likened the Transgender Community to mutants from the X-Men, let’s have a brief discussion about the X-Men. The X-Men were heroes and a reflection of real-life issues that included Bigotry, Racism, Antisemitism, Diversity, and LGBTQIA+.

Image Credit: Marvel Entertainment

The panel that I chose for this is an example of what Oscar Wilde mentioned. An X-Men Story from 1982 that was written by Chris Claremont and Illustrated by Brent Anderson called God Loves, Man Kills. The story focuses on the X-Men taking on a threat that they can’t take down with their mutant powers, a man named William Stryker. He was a man who was a televangelist who used his power, wealth, and influence to inspire fear and hatred. Stryker was also skilled at twisting the scripture to justify his agenda and inspired his audience to follow his example. Stryker’s global viewers were more than enough to make him a legitimate threat against mutant-kind.


While the concept of William Stryker was used for the second sequel in the X-Men Movie Franchise (X2), the book also exemplified what the X-Men were and what they stood for. Webster Barnaby and his party share a similarity to William Stryker, they are using their power and influence to twist politics and the bible to inspire fear and hatred and to justify an agenda that only caters to a select few.

Source: The Hill, Alejandra Caraballo

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