An appeals court in Ohio overturned a judge’s decision denying a legal name change for a 15-year-old transgender teen.
The 12th District Court of Appeals’ decision was unanimous. They ruled against Warren County Probate Judge Joseph Kirby’s decision, calling it ‘arbitrary, unreasonable, unconscionable and based solely upon the transgender status of the applicant’s child’.
Kirby made his decision last June.
He claimed the teen lacked the ‘maturity, knowledge and stability’ needed to make a decision like changing one’s name.
‘Whether [the teen] is experiencing Gender Dysphoria or is just not comfortable with her body is something that only time will reveal,’ he wrote.
‘Is [the teen’s] distress brought about by confusion, peer pressure, or other non-transgender issues – or is it truly a mismatch between her gender identity and her body.’
Not supported by medical professionals
Kylin and Stephanie Whitaker, the teen’s parents, a therapist and a doctor who works with trans children, supported their child’s decision to change their name.
According to court documents, the teen had year-long therapy at Lindner Center before beginning hormone therapy. That’s when the Whitakers applied for their child’s name change.
When Kirby denied the request, the Whitakers appealed. They said medical and mental health professionals support early name changes in trans youth as it avoids trauma and conflicts later in life.
The 12th District ruled the Whitakers satisifed ‘themselves that [their child’s] feelings about his gender identity were “real.”‘
Their reversal of Kirby’s decision now means the Warren County Probate Court must reconsider the Whitakers’ application. Kirby can also decide to hold additional hearings.