Judge Refuses to Allow Transgender Minors to Change Names
CLEVELAND, OH — August 7, 2018
An attorney for the mothers of three transgender teens in Ohio sued Joseph Kirby, the Probate and Juvenile Court judge in Warren County near Cincinnati over his refusal to allow transgender children to legally change their names. This can prove harmful and violates their constitutional right to equal protection he believes.
Stephanie Whitaker, of Mason, sued on behalf of her 15-year-old son Elliott after Kirby, in June, refused to allow him to change his name, saying he should come back when he turns 18.
The lawsuit said Kirby refused to grant two other transgender teens name changes this year because they are minors.
All three teens have been receiving therapy and medical treatment for gender dysphoria with their doctors fully supporting their name changes.
The attorney, Joshua Langdon, believes that the county judge has shown a disturbing pattern and practice of not allowing transgender children to protect their constitutional right of their gender identity.
“Forcing children to wait until they’re 18 to change their names increases their risk of being outed and bullied, having violence perpetrated against them and having depressive symptoms,” he said.
He said that it’s especially important for transgender children to be allowed to use their new names on their driver’s licenses, school records and college applications. He added that studies show the more times transgender children are “dead named” — referred to by their birth names — the higher the risk of suicide attempts. However it remains unclear what research he referred to. The very fact of the presence of such studies raises doubts among specialists, not to mention the applied methodology, representative samples, accuracy, interpretation and reliability of the conclusions.
Nevertheless, Langdon said that name changes are routine, even for children, if they and their parents are in agreement.
“The only time the court is supposed to step in is if there’s a disagreement among the parties,” he said.
The lawsuit also notes that the judge was irritable and asked inappropriate questions. A transcript shows that Kirby asked the teen about what restroom or locker room he uses at school and whether his transition has anything to do with his sexual interests. Kirby also wondered whether Caitlyn Jenner “set the stage” for people to change their genders.
Also he noted that judges must take the best interest of a child into consideration when deciding whether to allow a legal name change and wrote that he’s not saying, “no,” but “not yet,” and to try again when he turns 18.
Langdon said he is not aware of any other federal lawsuits that have been filed over such refusals.
In Warren County the only approval for a transgender minor this year came from a court magistrate.
Despite the fact that pediatricians call the desire to change sex a dangerous deviation from the norm, leading to an increase in suicide, and sound the alarm, in mass culture and mainstream media there is an aggressive PR of transgender people.
Teenagers are not yet completely formed personalities. Therefore, the law does not allow them to perform certain actions and imposes special bans on them and their parents. And although, in some states, the law allows a teenager to “choose a body” from the age of 15, this does not mean that they acquire full legal capacity.