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Judge blocks transgender teen’s name change because he thinks Caitlyn Jenner brainwashed him

Patrick Kelleher July 11, 2018

Elliott Whitaker

A family in Ohio have said a judge violated their transgender son’s civil rights after he denied the teenager’s request to legally change his name.

Judge Joseph Kirby asked the boy and his family: “Did all this start when all of this stuff came out in the media?” He later clarified that he was talking about Caitlyn Jenner.

The family was in court asking for their 15-year-old son’s name to be legally changed from Heidi to Elliott last month when the exchange occurred.

The boy’s parents, Leigh and Kylen Whitaker, filed an appeal against Kirby’s decision on Tuesday morning after he denied the name-change last month.

(Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images)

Leigh Whitaker, the boy’s mother, told WKRC that she thought going to court was “just a formality”.

Elliott has seen a therapist for a year and has also seen a specialist at a transgender clinic. Despite this, Kirby wasn’t convinced that Elliott wanted to change his name.

In his decision, he wrote that “children change significantly and rapidly”, and told Elliott to “age,” “develop,” “mature,” and “become an adult” before asking to change his name again.

Elliott’s parents were shocked and disappointed at the decision.

“I’m also upset that a judge who spent less than 20 minutes with our child in an intimidating setting knows better than both parents, the child, a licenced therapist and a doctor specialising in transgender issues,” his father said.

The family’s attorney, Josh Langdon, also noted that the judge heard two other name change requests from transgender people that same day – both of which were also denied.

Alba Vigaray/EPA

He also argued that the judge’s decision was infringing on the parents’ constitutional right to decide the upbringing of their child, and suggested there was a First Amendment issue with the ruling too, as it infringed upon Elliott’s right to express himself.

Speaking to PinkNews, Langdon said that the judge’s decision should not overrule the wishes of the parents, child and medical professionals.

“We have appealed to a higher court in hopes that this will be quickly overturned and set a precedent that transgender name changes are not an excuse to put transgender people on trial.”

More: judge, name change, transgender teen, US

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