Ohio Appeals Court Says Judge ‘Abused Discretion’ by Denying Transgender Teen a Legal Name Change

An appeals court in Ohio has overturned a judge’s decision to deny a trans-identified teenager preparing to go through hormone therapy a legal name change until the age of 18.

Judge Joseph Kirby had denied a trans-identified teenage boy named Elliott Whitaker (a biological female born with the name Heidi) the ability to legally change names. The Ohio Court of Appeals in the state’s twelfth appellate district overturned that decision.

“[W]e find that the probate court abused its discretion by failing to consider appropriate best interest factors before it denied the name change application,” the appellate court’s opinion reads.

A change-name application was filed in April 2018 in Warren County Court. Whitaker’s mother, Stephanie, requested the name change because “the child picked a name to suit gender identity.” The application for a name change was submitted with consent from both the mother and father.

A hearing for the name change was held in probate court on June 18, 2018, during which the parents and child testified. The child expressed the “feeling of distress … from as far back as I can remember.”

The family explained that the child had seen a therapist many times and that people in the school were referring to the child by preferred pronouns and name.

On June 22, 2018, Kirby ruled that a name change was not “reasonable and proper and in the child’s best interest.” He reasoned that a name change request by the child could have been motivated by “short-term desires or beliefs that may change over the passage of time as the child matures.”

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Samuel Smith