Trans-Identifying Man Running For Ohio House Disqualified For Not Disclosing ‘Dead Name’

Joy has legally changed his name.

A trans-identifying man running for the Ohio state House of Representatives has been disqualified for not disclosing his birth name, often referred to by trans-identifying people as their “dead name.”

Vanessa Joy was told by election officials that he was not eligible to run as a Democrat for Ohio House District 50, even though he had collected enough signatures to do so, because he had violated a little-known 1995 Ohio law requiring candidates for public office to disclose any name changes over the last five years on their signature petitions. The law does not apply to marriage name changes, according to The Hill.

Joy has legally changed his name, including on his birth certificate in 2022, and said he had been unaware of the law.

“I would have had to have my dead name on my petitions,” Joy told News 5 Cleveland. “But in the trans community, our dead names are dead; there’s a reason it’s dead — that is a dead person who is gone and buried.”

Joy had planned to run in a heavily Republican district just south of Akron against GOP candidate Matthew Kishman.

Joy said the law would “undoubtedly” prevent trans-identifying people from running for office in the future.

“If I had known that I had to put my dead name on my petitions, I personally would have because being elected was important to me,” Joy said. “But for many it would be a barrier to entry because they would not want their names on the petitions.”

The name requirement also does not appear in the secretary of state’s 2024 candidate guide, The Hill noted.

Last week, Governor Mike DeWine (R) vetoed a House bill that would ban children from obtaining transgender medical interventions, including puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and gender surgeries as well as bar trans-identifying students from competing on the sports teams of the opposite sex.

Ohio House Majority Leader Bill Seitz’s (R) office told The Hill that they expect to have the votes to override the governor’s veto on Wednesday, which is when a vote on the issue is expected.

Joy’s stepfather, Bill Roemer, is a member of the Ohio House and voted in favor of the bill. Joy has expressed a desire to fight back against Roemer and other Republicans.

At least three other trans-identifying candidates have entered Ohio state House races. It is not clear yet whether they too will be disqualified.

The primary for the state House race is on March 19.

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