The Ohio state election law requires transgender candidates to disclose their pre-transition names; nevertheless, a transgender candidate has been granted clearance to compete for an Ohio House of Representatives seat without doing so.
Democratic candidate for Ohio’s House of Representatives Arienne Childrey “identifies” as female despite having been born a biological male. Candidate petitions must include the previous name of any individual whose name changed within five years prior to the election in Ohio; however, there are exceptions for people whose names changed as a result of marriage. According to state law, Childrey was required to disclose his prior name on his petition since he changed it in 2020. Mercer County’s board of elections might have voted to disqualify Childrey for this infraction, but they opted against it, so he can keep running.
Childrey claims the reason why he did not include the name he was given at birth was due to ignorance of the law, saying that even though including his birth name would have been “a hit to my pride,” he feels the election is worth more than his pride. The 33-page candidate requirement guide does not appear to mention the statute mandating that petitions must disclose changes to names made during the last five years, as reported in the media.
During this election cycle, this transgender candidate in Ohio has become the fourth to violate the name change statute. Another transgender candidate for the Ohio House, Vanessa Joy, was banned from running because he did not disclose his birth name, which he changed in 2022. Because she has not yet legally changed her identity, Ari Faber, an Athens-based transgender candidate for state senate, must continue running on her birth name. Another transgender person who went by a different name on his application, Bobbie Arnold, was also permitted to run. In Ohio, all four transgender candidates are vying for Democratic nominations.