CLEVELAND (Associated Press) — An attorney for the mothers of three transgender teens in Ohio said in a federal lawsuit filed Friday that a county judge has shown a disturbing pattern and practice of not allowing transgender children to legally change their names, refusals that can prove harmful and violates their constitutional right to equal protection.
The lawsuit names Joseph Kirby, the Probate and Juvenile Court judge in Warren County near Cincinnati. Kirby’s bailiff said Friday the judge was out of town and unavailable for comment.
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 from Heidi, saying he should come back when he turns 18. Jennifer Saul sued to protect her 15-year-old son James, who has a hearing Aug. 14 before Kirby to change his name from Jenna. A woman listed in the lawsuit as Jane Doe says her 17-year-old son fears that Kirby will reject his name change petition, which hasn’t yet been filed.
All three teens have been receiving therapy and medical treatment for gender dysphoria with their doctors fully supporting their name changes.