Trans Candidate Vanessa Joy Disqualified After Refusing To Reveal Birth Name

Photo by Leonardo Munoz / AFP) (Photo by LEONARDO MUNOZ/AFP via Getty Images)

Julianna Frieman Contributor
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A transgender candidate for a state seat was reportedly disqualified from running after refusing to reveal his birth name.

Vanessa Joy, who was running as a Democrat for Ohio House District 50, was deemed ineligible to pursue elected office per state law for failing to disclose the name he changed to match his transgender identity on petitions distributed to voters, the Ohio Capital Journal reported.

“I would have had to have my dead name on my petitions,” Joy said. “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.”

The disqualified Stark County candidate collected all signatures needed to run for office, according to the outlet. However, a state law from the 1990s requires all candidates to make known any name changes within the past five years, but Joy reportedly refused to comply.

“It would be fair for the candidate to disclose their identity including prior names so that the people and their representatives in the state government would be able to vet that person and know exactly who they are,” Case Western Reserve University elections law professor Atiba Ellis explained to the Ohio Capital Journal.

Joy is reportedly the stepchild of Republican state Rep. Bill Roemer, but the two have never met. Roemer has supported legislation preventing minors from consenting to sex-change procedures and men from participating in women’s sports, which Joy intended to challenge, according to the outlet. (RELATED: Trans Actor Melts Down After Being ‘Misgendered’ At Delta Air Lines Gate)

“The only thing that we can do is try to fight back and that’s why there are so many trans candidates in Ohio,” Joy said, according to the outlet.

Joy said he was not made aware of the name change disclosure law and that there were no instructions or space to include the information on the petition, the Ohio Capital Journal reported. Two other transgender candidates for state House reportedly claimed they were unaware of the law, which they alleged was not located in the 33-page guide. However, both were certified by their election boards, according to the outlet.

Joy, who worries that the name change disclosure law will “undoubtedly” prevent transgender candidates from running for office, has until Friday to appeal, according to the outlet.