CINCINNATI — Sunday was National Coming Out Day, celebrating those in the LGBTQ community who have revealed their sexual orientation, and for this year’s celebration, a southwest Ohio family is taking steps to make it easier for children to change their name after transitioning from one gender to the other.
What You Need To Know
- National Coming Out Day was Sunday, Oct. 11 and celebrates everyone in the LGBTQ community that has revealed their sexual orientation
- Living With Change, an organization based in Cincinnati, was started by a family after their child transitioned genders.
- Living with Change helps give families resources during the gender transition journey
- Living With Change partnered with TransOhio and Equality Ohio to help families with the finances and legalities of changing a child's name that is or has transitioned.
At an early age, one of Jessica Cicchinelli’s children showed signs of wanting to transition genders.
“Our oldest child came to us at about age three, started saying, 'Mommy, Daddy, I’m a girl,'" Cicchinelli said.
After research and consultation with doctors, Cicchinelli and her husband helped get their seven-year-old child at the time the help needed to become a girl, but they knew not all families has access to the same resources they do, so they started an organization to help.
“Starting Living with Change was our way to give back and help other people that are in this situation really navigate through that journey," she said.
Part of that journey is changing their name. For the Cicchinelli’s, their daughter’s name wasn’t legally changed until last year, several years after she transitioned. That’s why Living with Change partnered with Equality Ohio and TransOhio to launch the Name Change Program to help pay for the $170 in fees to change a name as well as help navigate through the paperwork and legalities of the process.
“We saw how happy it made our daughter and we also saw how all the paperwork and the legal things you have to do and the cost of it al,l and I thought, 'You know what, we can make this easier on another family,'" Cicchinelli said.
Cicchinelli hopes by sharing her family’s story, that more people may get the courage to come out too.
“This is a very hard path and a very hard life ahead of these people," she said. "I give any transgender person who comes out and speaks about it so much credit and I admire them so much because it is a difficult thing to talk about.”
Because for her now 12-year-old daughter, this process, while long and difficult, has been a beacon of hope.
“Honestly you would never know the journey she’s been through so far," she said. "I mean she is as typical and normal of a almost 13-year-old as you would find.”
For more information on the name change program and the resources Living with Change offers, visit livingwithchange.org.