TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — During a committee meeting Monday, a Republican member of the Florida House of Representatives called transgender people “mutants” and “demons.”

Rep. Webster Barnaby (R-Deltona) made the comments during a hearing on House Bill 1521 that would make it a misdemeanor offense for someone to use a bathroom that doesn’t align with the sex they were assigned at birth.

Several LGBTQ advocates and transgender people spoke out against the bill during public comment.

Barnaby started off by comparing society to an X-Men movie or Marvel comic.

“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, where God created men male and women female.”

Barnaby said he is a proud Christian Conservative Republican. “I’m not on the fence. Not on the fence,” he said.

Barnaby went on to say that the bathroom bill was about public safety.

“The lord rebuke you, Satan, and all of your demons and all of your imps who come parade before us,” Barnaby 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.”

Democrats and Republicans on the panel seemed taken aback by Barnaby’s comments.

“I’m still a little bit thrown off from the last comments here,” state Rep. Kristen Arrington (D-Kissimmee) said after Barnaby’s address. “[I] just really want to let you all know that there are many here who understand and support you,” Arrington told opponents of the bill.

Minutes after Republicans advanced the bathroom bill, Barnaby apologized for his comments.

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

Equality Florida released the following statement in regard to Barnaby’s comments.

Today, parents and children, many of whom traveled hours to share their stories, had to listen to GOP State Representative Barnaby slander the transgender community from the dais. And Republican leadership in the room refused to put a stop to it. This hideous bigtory has always been at the root of the wave of anti-LGBTQ hysteria sweeping our state. The agenda of DeSantis and his legislative cronies has always been aimed at empowering this brand of bigotry and dehumanizing the LGBTQ community. Shame on Rep. Barnaby for spewing his transphobic vitriol. And shame on Chair Rommel for sitting idly by and allowing it to happen.