TAMPA, Fla (WFLA) — Anti-transgender comments made by a Florida lawmaker have caused nationwide uproar.
Rep. Webster Barnaby referred to transgender people as “demons” and “mutants” during a House Commerce Committee meeting Monday while lawmakers discussed a bill that restricts where trans people can use the bathroom.
“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.”
Reverend Jakob Hero-Shaw, a senior pastor at Metropolitan Community Church in Tampa, says he was shocked to hear the comments.
“I don’t know how someone can serve their constituency, if they don’t believe all the people in their constituency are human beings,” Rev. Hero-Shaw said.
Not only is Rev. Hero-Shaw a pastor, he’s also a trans man who medically transitioned twenty years ago.
“One thing I like to point out to younger trans folks is that when hatred is thrown at them, if it’s being thrown at them by someone that claims that God happens to hate all the people that they hate, then maybe it’s not God that’s talking,” he said.
Barnaby did issue a partial apology minutes after his comments, but did not retract all his remarks.
“I would like to apologize to the trans community for referring to you as demons,” Barnaby said.
Members of the LGBTQ community say they will not forget what he said.
“It’s time for you to either step down from your position or at least educate yourself so you can have some actual ground to stand on for what you’re speaking on,” said Ronnie Angelique Godwin, a trans woman.