A second reading was held on Thursday in the Ohio House’s Primary and Secondary Education Committee for HB 61, the “Save Women’s Sports Act.”
This hearing featured proponent testimony for those speaking in support of the legislation that would require schools, state institutions of higher education, and private colleges to designate separate single-sex teams and sports for each sex.
Those who spoke at the hearing presented similar arguments put forth by Representatives Jena Powell (R-Arcanum) and Reggie Stoltzfus (R – Minerva) at the first reading of the bill in April.
We have gathered here a collection of some of the more striking statements made at today’s hearing.
[Editor’s note: The Buckeye Flame has included exact terminology used in the hearing to refer to the transgender community. This choice reflects our efforts to be transparent about their words and not our view that this language is accurate or acceptable. It is not.]
1. “I’m traveling the nation to remind people that there are two sexes.” -Beth Stelzer, founder of Save Women’s Sports, explaining how she spends her time quite differently than most.
2. “We had the utmost compassion when creating this bill. All athletes are allowed to compete fairly. We’re not excluding anyone. We’re not banning anyone.” – Stelzer, directly acknowledging that her Minnesota-based organization had a hand in crafting HB 61.
3. “I believe in fairness. I also believe in inclusiveness. I do not believe however that transgender women have the right to compete against me or any other gender-born women regardless of their age.” -Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-Loveland), explaining the limits of her definition of “fairness” and “inclusiveness.”
4. “How do we make it fair for transgender women, but most importantly for biological women.” -Rep Schmidt, establishing the ranking of her priorities for fairness.
5. “These are my own opinions and do not represent an official statement from the University of Nebraska.” -Dr. Gregory Brown, a resident of Nebraska, immediately after establishing that his legitimacy is based on being a Professor of Exercise Science at the University of Nebraska at Kearney
6. “I am aware that some of the biological girls beat some of the transgenders in competition. There was some speculation that some other things were going on. Those are unconfirmed. Those were things that I heard.” -Professor Brown, responding with rumors and conjecture to a question about a recent case in Connecticut.
7. “We did try to constrain the language here to be about prohibiting men from competing in women’s sports.” -Matt Sharp of the Alliance Defending Freedom, a SPLC-designated anti-LGBTQ+ hate group, directly acknowledging that their organization too had a hand in crafting HB 61
8. “I wish to say that I care not if anyone hearing this is gay, bisexual, transgender, or even a cross-dressing drag queen like RuPaul.” -Dennis Leone, a retired Ohio superintendent, unexpectedly invoking famous drag queen’s name before using British tabloids to prove his point there is an issue with trans athletes playing rugby in England.
9. “I’m not here to take a stance on those decisions that people individually make,” Nilani Jawahar of the Center for Christian Virtue, in answer to being specifically asked whether her organization thinks trans individuals are virtuous.
10. “Good answer.” Chair Gayle Manning (R-North Ridgeville), abandoning any sense of impartiality to validate Jawahar’s aforementioned non-answer that didn’t address the question posed.
- Visit Equality Ohio’s page on HB 61 which has more information on the legislation and actions you can take including:
- Call House Education Committee Chair Gayle Manning, and tell her to stop HB61.
- Email the members of the House Education Committee, and tell them to oppose HB61.
- If you are a transgender athlete or ally, you can share your story here.
- Sign the petition to stop HB61.
- Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper explaining just how harmful this bill is and why your elected officials should oppose it.