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Transgender Candidate Disqualified from Ohio House Race for Not Using Real Name

A transgender individual running for a seat in the Ohio House of Representatives says he was disqualified from the race for not using the name on his birth certificate.

Vanessa Joy, a biological male who identifies as female, was deemed ineligible to run for office under Ohio law, which requires prospective political candidates who have changed their names within the last five years to put their former names on their candidate petitions, according to a report by NBC News.

The law exempts people who have changed their name due to marriage. Joy, who had been trying to run as a Democrat representing Ohio House District 50, said he was unaware of this law until his disqualification.

Joy told NBC News that referring to transgender individuals as the name printed on their birth certificate is “a safety concern for many.”

“It’s a barrier to entry for many trans and gender-nonconforming people,” Joy said.

“Where I personally would have just bit the bullet and allowed my deadname to be on the petitions and likely on the ballot, for a lot of trans people, they don’t want their deadnames printed. It’s a safety concern for many.”

Joy’s disqualification comes just days after Ohio made national headlines over its governor’s response to transgender issues.

On December 29, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) vetoed a bill that would protect children from dangerous and permanent transgender medical procedures and ban male-born transgender athletes from playing as females in girls’ and women’s sports.

On Wednesday, DeWine said he vetoed the legislation because of personal appeals from families rather than lessons learned from science-based research. However, he admitted that “the part of the bill that had to do with sports” was particularly concerning.

DeWine’s veto is expected to be challenged by Ohio lawmakers in the coming weeks.

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