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Judge approves transgender teenager's name change he'd previously denied

Supreme Court
Posted at 3:14 PM, Mar 12, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-12 15:14:42-04

LEBANON, Ohio — A Warren County judge followed an appeals court's lead and approved a name change for a transgender teenager whose request he'd previously denied.

Judge Joseph Kirby approved the name change Tuesday after considering a new set of factors cited by an Ohio appeals court that reversed Kirby's earlier denial. Kirby wrote that he considered factors like the child's age and motivations, any potential issues caused by having a name not perceived to match appearance and gender identity, history of counseling and the parents' wishes, among others.

The 15-year-old had already been using his preferred name for more than a year before his parents filed the application to legally change it, according to Kirby's new decision.

The teen's parents filed the request last year. Kirby initially denied it, noting the teen's age. The parents tried suing Kirby, but a federal judge dismissed the lawsuit, saying the proper way to challenge the judgment would be to file an appeal.

The Ohio 12th District Court of Appeals ruled on the appeal Monday, finding the Warren County court had abused its discretion with the denial.

"This court apparently neglected to consider the preferences of [the teen's] parents and their assessment of his best interest," Kirby wrote in the new decision, referring to the boy by his new name.