Ohio judge: transgender teen lacks "maturity, knowledge and stability" to get a name change

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/06/29/ohio-judge-transgender-teen-l.html


I don’t get it. (Yes I know the answer is anti-trans peoples)

If the teen in question was cis and wanted a legal name change and the parents were willing to sign off on it - wouldn’t it just happen? Why is there even a judge involved?


In most, if not all, states in the US changing your name (apart from a last name change when getting married) requires a hearing before a judge. Exact details vary depending on location, and I’m not sure if there are additional hurdles for a minor, but this is more or less SOP.

In most cases it’s basically a formality, but hey, if a judge has an ax to grind there’s nothing particularly from stopping them from being a dick, I guess.


Pretty sure “gender confusion” as a concept always = anti-trans bullshit justification.


Perhaps time for another judicial recall vote.


British Columbia is fill the forms get the paperwork submitted (potentially including criminal background check and other stuff) and pay the fees.

In a case like this you would need both parents and the teen to sign off and not much more I seem to recall.


If our society can do this…


…then the kid is old enough to chose a name.

Fuck that idiot judge.



My name was changed legally when I was 13; we just filled out the forms and filed them with the county clerk, and the process took a few weeks to be finalized back then…


Okay, so the hearing may or may not be necessary, but according to the link, you are either filing a petition before a judge, or changing your name just by using a different name (practically speaking this seems very unlikely), so the judge is likely still involved.

For trans folks, many of us will also be changing our gender marker at the same time, so that may make a difference (the process for this does vary widely but judges are often involved).


And yet when it comes to underage pregnant girls, the laws in Ohio seem to indicate they’re believed to be mature enough to get married:

Ohio law requires brides to be at least 16 and grooms to be at least 18, but exceptions are made for younger, pregnant teens if they have parental consent and juvenile court approval. That effectively means there is no legal minimum age for marriage in Ohio.

Nope, 16 is the age of consent in Ohio. But they’re allowed to get married, wha?:


I thought gender confusion was “they keep calling me a boy, but I’m a girl” ?


Has any person, anywhere, ever, later expressed regret they’d been allowed to change their own name?


Well sure, changing your name to Taco Bell Wild Naked Chicken Chalupa Box is just a rubber stamp deal. But if you wanted to change it to, like, John or Samantha then obviously you need the guidance of a judge to make sure you’re not being silly.

Sarcasm aside, I can think of plenty of reasons why you might have to appear in person before a judge to change your name, e.g. relating to fraud. But I can’t see how they would have any say over the name itself. And anyway, the bit about pronouns makes it fairly clear this is one of those judges who thinks the law is just there as, like, a backup for their folksy common-sense wisdom.


Actually, quite false. You can literally use any name you like, as long as you are not doing so to commit or avoid punishment for a crime (or to avoid legal obligations, in general). You only need a court to force other people to accept your new name; the change, itself, doesn’t have this requirement.

Similarly, you DO NOT need official permission to use a pen name or screen name; simply start using the new name.


Pretty sure “gender confusion” is mostly about either “why isn’t that person conforming to my expectations of their gender?”, or “that person is does not understand that we have already prescribed their gender, and proscribed any alternatives.”


Well, there are appeals.

Okay, we’re talking about changing your name on all your documents and stuff. All my friends call me one name, but all my documents have a different name on them because in practicality, getting my driver’s license, bank accounts, etc. changed is a herculean or literally impossible task without the court order that is the topic in question right now.

So congratulations, you’re technically correct, but missing the point.


I changed my name and it was just a matter of using the new name. No court or even application. Starting with unimportant accounts and working up to the passport which is the most work. This was nolo advice. Your state may vary.

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Nope. It’s literally legal to simply choose to change your name, and do so. How did you think pen names worked, exactly…? Essentially, the burden is on you, in this case, rather than the State, to convince everyone to use your chosen new name, and it may or may not work. Different states also will have at least minor, and possibly major variations on how to go about this, but every state in the Union has some sort of version, as far as I know.

Easy, very minor and banal example: You can easily simply decide you are “Joe”, instead of “Joseph”, or perhaps “Bill” instead of “William”, and rent/buy property, work under, and bank with the shortened version (because I do exactly that, with my own, different name =) ). It doesn’t bother the bank in the slightest. The only place I use my full name is on my taxes (and yes, the Fed DID say I could use the shortened form of my name, but it would likely delay my return).

This is also the case for more radical changes but the logic and legality remains the same. Again, it’s not a “nitpick”, it’s the simple truth. What the courts do is give you a guarantee of success, but of course at a not-insignificant cost.


The dick is just trying to punish the kid and make her life more difficult in school, getting into college or getting a job.

She’s not mature enough to make this decision- she risks possibly changing her legal name again at some future date. Surely- that 2nd name change would ruin her for life.

Judge Asshole’s legal analysis marks him as a likely graduate of Thomas M. Cooley Law; along with Michael Cohen.