Metro Weekly

Ohio’s Beth Lear Suggests Opponents of Her Anti-Trans Bill Be Drowned

Ohio State Rep. Beth Lear quoted Scripture and compared transgender people to animals while justifying her anti-trans bill.

Ohio State Rep. Beth Lear, the sponsor of an anti-trans “bathroom bill” – Photo: Facebook

When Ohio State Rep. Beth Lear (R-Galena) introduced a bill prohibiting transgender students from using bathrooms that do not match the student’s assigned sex at birth, she not only cited Scripture to justify the bill, but suggested that those who oppose it be drowned in the sea.

As reported in The Daily Beast, during a House Higher Education Committee hearing on January 10, State Rep. Joseph Miller (D-Amherst) asked Lear how she could “jive” her bill with the teachings of her Christian faith.

“In Luke 17, Jesus says that if you cause one of these little ones of mine to stumble, it would be better for you to have a millstone hung around your neck and be thrown into the deepest sea,” Lear responded.  “So—there are also concerns that Jesus has for children. And in Genesis, he tells us that he created the male and female.”

The Bible-thumping Lear previously invoked the Scriptures when explaining her rationale for the bill, which she introduced in October with State Rep. Adam Bird (R-New Richmond) and 19 other Republicans.

According to The Buckeye Flame, an Ohio-based LGBTQ news source, Lear justified the bill — and her belief that gender identity isn’t real — by citing Genesis 1:27.

“In our country, since the Puritans and Pilgrims first arrived and until recently, we believed ‘God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them,'” she said at the time.

During the January hearing, Lear and Bird sought to unveil an updated version of the bathroom bill that more closely aligned with a bill seeking to ban gender-affirming care for minors and prevent transgender athletes from participating on women’s sports teams.

The Ohio House of Representatives recently voted to override Gov. Mike DeWine’s veto of that measure, which will become law if the Ohio Senate votes for an override on January 24.

Lear, who has been vocally skeptical about the idea that a person’s gender identity can differ from their biological sex, was asked by State Rep. Casey Weinstein (D-Hudson) if she believed transgender people existed.

Lear responded by comparing gender dysphoria to delusions of being an animal, echoing oft-repeated Republican tropes that treat the idea of gender identity as unreasonable or strange. 

“If I had a child who thought he was a bird, am I going to take him to a doctor who tells him the best thing to do is to let him explore being a bird?” Lear said. “And oh, by the way, there’s a five-story building next door — why don’t you jump off and see if you can fly?”

“I take offense to you comparing transgender people to people imagining they are other species or things like that,” Weinstein said.

When asked by State Rep. Ismail Mohamed (D-Columbus) why individual school districts could not decide on and establish their own policies regarding transgender access to bathrooms and changing facilities, Lear argued that the bill is needed to protect young children from being forced to share intimate spaces with people of the opposite biological sex.

“The safest place for a young woman who is confused about her gender is not to go into the men’s locker room,” Lear said. “The safest place for young women in college is not to have a man who is confused about his identity come in and watch them.”

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