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A number of parents are suing an Ohio judge who rejected a 15-year-old transgender child’s request to change her name to a male name to match her new identity.

Cincinnati parents Leigh and Kylen Whitaker, along with a set of parents who’s child has an Aug. 14 name change hearing and a mother who intends to petition a name change for her child, filed a lawsuit against Probate and Juvenile Court Judge Joseph W. Kirby, WCPO Cincinnati reported Friday.

“Kirby suggested that [the 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 lawsuit alleges, referring to 15-year-old biological female Heidi Whitaker’s request to change her name.

Judge Kirby denied the name change request on June 22, writing in his decision that “children change significantly and rapidly,” and that Heidi can request a name change when she is an adult.

A name change is “not reasonable and proper and in the child’s best interest at this time,” Kirby ruled. “Age. Develop. Mature,” the judge also wrote.


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The plaintiffs also allege in their lawsuit that the judge “has a pattern of treating name change requests from transgender adolescents differently than other name requests.”

Kirby approved six requests for name changes from transgender adults and denied requests from three transgender minors in 2018, according to the suit.

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