Tuesday, July 5

How many clicks between Ohio State Rep Gary Click & hardcore pornography? We decided to find out.

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One of the byproducts of covering the horrific stream of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation coming out of the Ohio Statehouse is that I have had the opportunity to get to know the dynamic cast of characters that comprise our Ohio House of Representatives.

To keep me sane – though maybe not entirely grounded – I sometimes imagine them to be playable characters out of Dungeons and Dragons. That dramatis personae includes:

But my current favorite is unquestionably:

  • The Cleric – Rep. (and Baptist pastor) Gary Click (R-Vickery)

Rep. Click is in his first term of elected office, representing District 88 in north central Ohio, which encompasses all of Sandusky County and most of Seneca County.

He is a graduate of Midwestern Bible College, an unaccredited Christian institution whose Student Handbook bans (no joke) complaining, unnatural hair colors, shopping with the opposite sex, country-western style or “contemporary Christian” music, and visiting a place of ill repute.

In his spare time, Rep. Click is the pastor at Fremont Baptist Church.

I first watched Rep. Click in action on February 17 when he introduced HB 454, dubbed the Save Adolescents from Experimentation (SAFE) Act. If passed, the bill would ban gender-affirming care to trans youth and force teachers and other school staff to out trans youth to their parents.

My first impression watching him was that he was genial and folksy. When introducing the bill, he said, “This bill is not about hate. This bill is about kindness, love, and compassion.”

And for a good 48 to 49 seconds, I believed him. A minute later? Not so much.

Rep. Click attempted to assert that the bill had no religious motivations in one breath, mere moments after admitting that the bill was brought to him by the Center for Christian Virtue.

Over three more hearings, I watched Rep. Click engage in behavior from calling multiple witnesses “rockstars” – including one who equated gender-affirming care to dog training and the Holocaust, and then called trans people a “social contagion” to impugning his Democratic colleagues because they dared to have critical questions for his witnesses.

But his most audacious moment came during the 4th hearing for HB 454 on June 1 when Rep. Click posed this question to a doctor from Nationwide Children’s Hospital:

“What role does providing hardcore pornography to your teenagers aged 13 and above play in providing resources and how many clicks does it take to get from your page to hardcore pornography videos?”

Rep. Click had found a link on Nationwide’s site to a CDC-funded HIV prevention program, which then had a sub-page with resources, which then had a link to a company selling sex toys, destigmatizing the fact that sexually active individuals might actually be sexually active.

Of course the link to the sex toys was not on the hospital’s site, and Rep. Click was promptly chastised by the committee chair.

But the Cleric treated this as his ultimate “gotcha” moment, abandoning any substance of an argument to establish that porn can be accessed…wait for it…within 3-to-5 clicks on the internet.

Using Rep. Click’s “3-to-5 Click Rule,” I thought it would be helpful to establish how many clicks it takes to get from Pastor Click to some other things:

  • A clever Twitter user found that Rep. Click follows a user who sells sex toys on the internet.
    CLICKS BETWEEN REP. CLICK & SEX TOYS:  2.
  • When introducing HB 454, Rep. Click solicited the help of Erin Brewer, an activist who travels around the country delivering proponent testimony to deny trans youth their lived experience. Brewer also proudly — truly: proudly — proclaims in her bio that she was one of the world’s top 20 most popular amateur porn stars, with over 10.8 million views and more than 400 videos. 
    CLICKS BETWEEN REP. CLICK & HARDCORE PORNOGRAPHY: 0. He literally invited Brewer and stood beside her throughout the entire hearing.
  • On June 10, Rep. Click appeared on “The Bruce Hooley Show,” a conservative radio program. Immediately following Rep. Click’s appearance, Hooley said: “I have maintained for a long time that the most radical initiative of the LGBTQIA+ ever growing alphabet mafia is to eventually get to a point where pedophilia is normalized to the degree to which it is no longer a crime.”
    CLICKS BETWEEN REP. CLICK & ASSOCIATING ALL LGBTQ+ OHIOANS WITH PEDOPHILIA: 0. It was literally the same episode.
  • Hooley then said the following: “Drag queens reading in libraries. If you don’t see the incremental cultural ooze of all of this, it feeds a great degree of the mental health issues that result in a few extreme mental health people shooting up schools.”
    CLICKS BETWEEN REP. CLICK AND BLAMING MASS MURDERS IN SCHOOLS ON DRAG QUEENS IN LIBRARIES: 0. Again, the same episode.
  • On February 17, Rep. Click said he was waiting to visit a gender-affirming clinic. He has since admitted that he never did visit a clinic, which has not stopped him from introducing legislation that would ban their existence.
    CLICKS BETWEEN REP. CLICK & DUE DILIGENCE: >5
  • At the June 1 hearing, Nick Lashutka, President & CEO of Ohio Children’s Hospital Association said, “One of the unintended consequences of the passing of HB 454 is that all Medicaid funding would be stripped from Children’s Hospitals, and that is 54% of the patient base that we serve.”
    CLICKS BETWEEN REP. CLICK & AN ASTRONOMICAL NUMBER OF OHIOANS LOSING HEALTHCARE: 1. If HB 454 passes, this will be the reality.

Fun game though this may be, Rep. Click’s attempts to deny life-saving care to trans youth are far from a laughing matter. With the Ohio legislature in summer recess, LGBTQ+ Ohioans have a little breathing room before the Cleric resumes his campaign to target some of our most vulnerable siblings.

But come this fall, Rep. Click and the rest of his hunting party will return and we all have to be prepared, no matter how many rolls of the 10-sided dice it takes them to march Ohio backwards in time. 🔥

About Author

Ken Schneck is the Editor of The Buckeye Flame. He is the author of "Seriously, What Am I Doing Here? The Adventures of a Wondering and Wandering Gay Jew" (2017), "LGBTQ Cleveland" (2018), "LGBTQ Columbus" (2019), and "LGBTQ Cincinnati" (2020). In his spare time, he is a professor of education at Baldwin Wallace University.

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