‘Immoral’ Republican condemned for comparing non-binary people to farmyard animals

John Fillmore Arizona republican anti trans barnyard animals

Arizona Republican lawmakers John Fillmore and Kevin Payne are both facing ethics complaints after making anti-trans comments during a government and elections committee meeting. 

The discriminatory comments came while the committee was reviewing House Bill 2725, a measure John Fillmore introduced that would bar all governments in Arizona from identifying an individual’s gender as anything besides the tired binary of male or female. 

During the hearing, Fillmore said the “gender dysfunction thing” allows “men to enter into the restrooms of the little girls and creates situations that I don’t think are beneficial to society and the nuclear family as a whole”.

He said that once a trans person had “achieved that status” of having gender-affirming surgery, then they could have their government documents legally reflect their gender identity.  

But then Fillmore went completely off of the left-field and compared people who identify as trans, non-binary or gender non-conforming to barnyard animals. 

Fillmore told the committee: “I don’t believe we, as a society, should have all of the different binaries identified.

“I mean what’s going to happen when, someday, someone wakes up and they want to go to the far extreme and identify as a chicken or something for crying out loud?

“Where do we draw the line?”

He argued he didn’t want to “disparage” trans, non-binary or gender non-conforming people, but instead create a uniform policy for gender identification across government documents.

Kevin Payne also allegedly participated in ‘unethical, unprofessional and even immoral conduct’.

Riley Behrens, a community advocate who attended the committee’s debate of the bill, said in separate ethics complaints that Fillmore and Payne each “engaged in conduct that compromises the character of himself, the integrity of the Arizona State House of Representatives, and shows a lack of respect for members of the LGBTQ+ community”.

He told Arizona Mirror in an email that while the committee was taking testimony from Megan Mogan, a Tucson parent of a non-binary child, Payne made disparaging and dehumanising comments. Behrens wrote in an ethics complaint that Payne continuously disrupted Mogan’s testimony and referred to her child as “it”. 

He said: “Payne continuously disrupted public testimony and in a comment to himself, said ‘So it doesn’t know who it is?’ in reference to the child of one of the community members who testified virtually. 

“Referencing any person as ‘it’, particularly a child, is discriminatory and cannot be tolerated.”

He asked the house ethics committee to investigate Fillmore and Payne for “unethical, unprofessional, and even immoral conduct”.

Complaint is ‘meritless’

Fillmore said critics “distorted” his comments in statements shared with Arizona Mirror. He said the complaint against him is “entirely without merit”, and it’s “rather unfortunate that some opponents of the bill have unfairly and grossly mischaracterised my comments at Wednesday’s [10 February] hearing”.

Payne also denied saying what Behren alleged in his complaint. Andrew Wilder, a spokesman for thehHouse Republicans, told Arizona Mirror that Payne “does not recall saying anything like what is alleged in the complaint, nor are such words by him heard in the committee hearing’s video”. 

But Mogen took to Twitter to share her devastation as a result of the meeting. She wrote: “Still shaking after an elected GOP state rep [Fillmore] just compared my child to a barnyard animal”.