A Warren County judge implied that a transgender teen was only influenced by Caitlyn Jenner following the media frenzy over the celebrity’s case and that the teen wasn’t sincere about his gender identity even as his parents supported him in legally seeking a change. The judge ruled against the request. Now, the judge is being sued for making such a decision and to prevent him from blocking more similar requests.
The parents of that teen, aged 15, along with two other transgender teens, are suing Probate and Juvenile Court Judge Joseph W. Kirby. The parents of the two other teens want to gain permission to change their legal names from female to male. The parents of the transgender teens are claiming that Kirby discriminates against transgender minors in refusing to allow them to choose a name “that reflects their gender identity.”
In making his decision to turn down the teen’s request for name change, Kirby cited the 15-year-old’s age as the compelling reason for refusing the legal name change. Kirby said in his decision that the change "was not reasonable and proper and in the child's best interest at this time."
Kirby even stated in his ruling that the court is “sympathetic” to the teen’s wishes for a name change as well as to his parents supporting him. He said in his decision that it best for the teen to decide at a more appropriate time. Kirby said then: "In essence, the court isn’t saying ‘no’ to the name change. The court is simply saying ‘not yet.' Age. Develop. Mature.”
In their lawsuit, however, the parents of the teen says "Kirby suggested that [teen's] expression of his gender identity was not sincere, but instead was the result of exposure of media coverage of the transition by Caitlyn Jenner."
The suit cites exchanges between Kirby and the teen and his parents regarding the Jenner case and his own wish to have a name change and claims “The judge failed to consider the evidence presented by the families and doctors that the name change is in the best interest of the teenager and, instead, substituted his own skeptical views.”
The families’ lawyer, Joshua Langdon, is claiming strong bias against Kirby in deciding against transgender teens’ request for name change. The attorney also argues that denying transgender children the ability to legally change their names until age 18 "can lead to significant and irreparable harm, and increases their risk of being outed and bullied, having violence perpetrated against them, having depressive symptoms, and attempting suicide.”