Prizm News / July 19, 2018 / By Bob Vitale

There's a newly introduced bill in Ohio that's hoping to force teachers and doctors to out trans kids to their families. Ohio is also where a judge just denied a boy named Elliot the legal right to change his name, citing my own coming out publicly as one of the reasons for his decision. Here's what I have to say about it, and Elliot, I hope you're listening. You're a brave role model to so many of us. I hope you and your fellow Ohioans are out there contacting your reps and state senators every day to VOTE NO ON #HB658!

Posted by Caitlyn Jenner on Wednesday, July 18, 2018

The 15-year-year old was denied a name-change by a Warren County judge who said Jenner’s transition is making kids transgender.

 

By Bob Vitale

Caitlyn Jenner posted a video message Wednesday to a transgender Ohio boy and the Warren County judge who refused to let him legally change his name.

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“Your identity is real, and we are behind you 100 percent to build a safer world,” Jenner said at the end of a one-minute video, addressing 15-year-old Elliott Whitaker directly.

“Elliott, I hope you’re listening,” she wrote in her introduction to the video. “You’re a brave role model to so many of us.”

The teenager and his parents appeared before Warren County Probate Judge Joseph Kirby in June and were denied their request to make Elliott’s name-change official. According to news reports, Kirby asked whether Elliott identified as trans because of “all of this stuff” in the media; he clarified by saying he was referring to Jenner’s transition in 2015.

Referring to Kirby, Jenner said in her video: “My coming out publicly wasn’t to brainwash cisgender people. It was to let the mainstream world know, ‘Hey, we exist. We’re here. And this isn’t a mental illness.'”

Jenner posted her video message on Facebook and Instagram along with criticism of an Ohio House bill introduced by two Republican lawmakers that would require teachers, social workers, school counselors and others to notify parents when their children show unidentified symptoms of gender dysphoria.

The bill introduced by state Reps. Tom Brinkman of Cincinnati and Paul Zeltwanger of Mason received one hearing in a House committee but have been the subject of no further action.

Jenner, who has been criticized for her past support of Donald Trump and the Republican Party, urged Ohioans to call their state lawmakers and urge them to oppose House Bill 658.

“We are in the thick of some very difficult, scary and dangerous times in our community,” she said.

Here’s the full text of her message:

“It has come to my attention that a judge in Ohio thinks I’m brainwashing young kids into becoming trans.

“First of all, for me, being trans has been a great gift. It has been the most profound growing experience of my life.

“But we are in the thick of some very difficult, scary and dangerous times in our community, especially trans people of color. Why anyone would choose to embark on the trans journey when they don’t truly feel that way is beyond me.

“My coming out publicly wasn’t to brainwash cisgender people. It was to let the mainstream world know, ‘Hey, we exist. We’re here. And this isn’t a mental illness.’

“And so I send a message to Elliott in Ohio. Your identity is real, and we are behind you 100 percent to build a safer world.”

 

 

Bob Vitale
A Toledo native and graduate of Toledo Public Schools, Bob has worked as a local government and politics reporter for The Columbus Dispatch, as a Washington correspondent for Thomson Newspapers and as editor-in-chief for Outlook Ohio. He has a bachelor's degree in journalism and political science from Ball State University and a master's degree in public affairs reporting from the University of Illinois-Springfield.