A set of Ohio parents tried to change their daughter’s name to a male name to match her new identity, but a judge denied their request.
Cincinnati parents Leigh and Kylen Whitaker requested an appointment with a state judge to have their daughter’s name, Heidi, changed to Elliott, WKRC Cincinnati first reported. They were told by other parents that the hearing was largely a formality and a method whereby the judge could ensure the name change request wasn’t an attempt to commit fraud.
“We thought it was just a formality,” Leigh said, WKRC reported.
Judge Joseph Kirby denied the name change request on June 22 following the hearing. He wrote in his decision that “children change significantly and rapidly,” and that Heidi can request a name change when she is an adult.
“Age. Develop. Mature,” the judge wrote.
Heidi declared she was transgender in 2017 and has been undergoing therapy at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital’s transgender clinic.
“We did do a lot of therapy to make sure that this was something that was real,” Heidi’s mother also said.
“The judge met with us for 15 to 20 minutes and then decided that he knew better than the parents and the doctors and our child. We just don’t feel that’s right,” said Kylen Whitaker.
The parents pointed to the importance of changing Heidi’s name before it appears on her driver’s license and college applications.
Heidi’s name change request was not the only request the judge turned down. Kirby refused two other requests the same day involving young children with gender dysphoria seeking to change their names. The judge has granted other requests previously.
The case now rises to the 12th Circuit Court of Appeals for a hearing.