Arienne Childrey

Arienne Childrey, an Ohio state House canidate, speaks at an event on October 26, 2023.

(Photo: @Ari4Ohio/Twitter)

Second Trans Woman's Candidacy Challenged Over Deadname in Ohio

"This effort to remove trans candidates, due to an obscure law, comes at a time when the General Assembly has ramped up efforts to use their role in government to wage an outright attack on the LGBTQ+ community," said Arienne Childrey.

Days after a transgender woman's campaign for a state House seat in Ohio was abruptly ended over her failure to include the name given to her at birth on her election paperwork, a Republican leader in the state was aiming on Friday to disqualify Arienne Childrey, another transgender candidate.

The chair of the Mercer County Republican Party, Robert Hibner, submitted a letter of protest to local election officials late last week, alleging that Childrey violated a 1995 statute requiring all candidates to include on candidacy petitions any other names they have used within five years of the election.

Childrey, a Democrat, said in a statement that "the name change provision is not included in the Candidate Guide issued by the secretary of state's office, nor any of the other paperwork or forms," and noted that the recent disqualification of state House candidate Vanessa Joy and her own campaign's potential end comes as Republicans in Ohio and across the U.S. are pushing anti-LGBTQ+ legislation.

"This effort to remove trans candidates, due to an obscure law, comes at a time when the General Assembly has ramped up efforts to use their role in government to wage an outright attack on the LGBTQ+ community," said Childrey.

According toThe Guardian, the 1995 law includes an exception for people who change their name due to marriage, but not one for transgender candidates' deadnames—the names they're given at birth which don't match their gender identity.

Mercer County election officials deemed Hibner's challenge to Childrey invalid this week because state rules require letters of protest to be filed by members of the candidate's party. The county's assistant prosecutor told local reporters on Tuesday that the board can still proceed with a hearing on Childrey's candidacy, which is scheduled for January 18.

"I entered this race to fight for the people of the 84th District and to fight against the rising tide of hatred in our district and our state," said Childrey. "Regardless of the outcome of this hearing, I will continue that fight."

Childrey began her campaign to challenge state Rep. Angela King (R-84), who last year introduced a bill to ban drag performances in public spaces.

On Wednesday, a day after Joy lost her appeal regarding her own candidacy to the Stark County Board of Elections, the GOP-controlled state House voted to override Republican Gov. Mike DeWine's veto of a bill to restrict transgender youths' participation in team sports and ban puberty blockers and other gender-affirming healthcare.

"The transgender community in the United States of America is currently in the midst of a state-sponsored genocide, brought on by the Republican Party," said Joy on Wednesday. "We are currently in stages 8 (persecution) and 9 (extermination) of the genocide of the transgender community. The persecution portion is the incredible amount of legislation being passed to take away our rights, and the extermination portion is the fact that in the states that these laws have passed, deaths will rise within the community."

"Ohio is no exception, and in fact is becoming one of the most dangerous places in the country for transgender people to live," said Joy.

The ACLU tracked 510 anti-LGBTQ+ bills that were introduced, advanced, or passed in 2023, including seven in Ohio. Restrictions on gender-affirming healthcare account for 175 of the bills.

A study out of the University of Washington in 2022 found a 73% decrease in depression and suicidal ideation when transgender people can access gender-affirming treatment.

On Monday, the Mercer County Democratic Party passed a resolution opposing Hibner's complaint over Childrey's candidacy.

"Mr. Hibner's protest is nothing but a hateful attempt to further discriminate against a community not meeting the GOP definition of 'normal'—a radical approach to alienate qualified candidates and stifle the will of the voters," said Don Holtvoigt, vice chair of the party. "The radical right should cease and desist in their efforts to divide our community."

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