US: Oklahoma Judge denies name-change for those transitioning
A judge in the US has denied two trans people the right to change their name to fit with their transitions, ruling that they were appealing to change for fraudulent purposes.
Oklahoma District Judge, Bill Graves, has denied the name change in two cases – one in August, and one last year, NewsOK reported.
“I wanted to give up and just die,” said James Dean Ingram, who was turned down on August 30, after requesting to be legally known as Angela Renee Ingram.
“It’s so important because it’s who I am. I can’t be who I am with a male name,
“Soon as I was out of the courtroom I collapsed and started to cry … never before have I wanted more to kill myself.”
Judge Graves wrote an order in 2011, referring to the case of Steven Charles Harvey, 62, who was seeking to legally change to Christie Ann Harvey.
In it, Judge Graves said that he did not allow the name change, because of scientific reasons. He claims that the DNA of a person in transition does not change, therefore their gender does not:
“A so-called sex-change surgery can make one appear to be the opposite sex, but in fact they are nothing more than an imitation of the opposite sex,”
“Here, petitioner has not even had the surgery by which his sex purports to be changed. Thus, based on the foregoing and the DNA evidence, a sex change cannot make a man a woman or a woman a man all of which, the Court finds is sufficient in and of itself to deny petitioner’s request for a name change,” he wrote.
“To grant a name change in this case would be to assist that which is fraudulent,”
“It is notable that Genesis 1:27-28 states: ‘So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them… The DNA code shows God meant for them to stay male and female.”
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The report also read that he did not want to be “complicit in legitimising sex changes through changes of names.”
Judge Graves’ report also went on to say that he thought it may cause issues if he granted a name change, and someone “unwittingly” married someone of the same gender, that it could cause confusion in criminal investigations, and it would allow people a way around the state’s current ban on equal marriage.
Representative Mike Ritze, a physician, provided the judge with a detailed sworn statement on the issue:
“The DNA is not altered by any of the above procedures or hormonal treatment,” he wrote,“Based on this scientific fact, it is my opinion that a person cannot change their sex or gender through sex change surgery.”
In an interview, Judge Graves said “If you’re born male, you stay male, according to the study I’ve done on DNA. If you’re born female, you stay female.”
Five other Judges in the area have told the media that it is common practice to grant the name change in such cases.
Ms Harvey has since completed her transition and wrote on her Facebook Page: “What an incredibly rewarding and fulfilling experience. I am truly the happiest I’ve ever been.” She is currently in the process of appealing against Judge Graves’ decision.
Ms Dean said she will undergo the surgery once she can afford it, and remembered that Judge Graves had said he would reconsider once that had happened.