Trans widow wins five year legal battle over firefighter husband’s death benefits
Nikki Araguz Loyd says she was ‘frozen out’ by her late husband’s family.
Activist Nikki Araguz Loyd has shared her relief that a long legal battle over her firefighter husband’s death benefits is finally over.
The battle began after her husband Thomas’ untimely death, as he battled a local fire.
Ms Loyd faced even further sorrow after her she says her husband’s family “cast her out”.
Ms Loyd’s website states that his mother and ex-wife launched legal proceedings against the day after her husband’s burial.
She says they also prevented her from seeing her stepchildren and treated as if she were a stranger.
A judge later voided the couple’s marriage and denied the widow her death benefits, as the state of Texas did not recognise same-sex marriage at the time.
However, since the Supreme Court ruled in favour of same-sex marriage earlier this year, an appeal was launched and Ms Loyd finally received the benefits she was owed.
“Done and done,” she wrote on Facebook. “All is at it should be. Now to ride into the sunset, happily ever after!”
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Ms Loyd began living as a woman when she was a teenager and underwent gender reassignment surgery shortly after marrying her husband.
She obtained their marriage license using her Texas driver’s license, which identifies her as female. Her birth certificate, from California, also states that she is female.
The case has garnered Ms Loyd national attention, with activists marking her victory as one for both transgender rights and marriage equality.
The advocate says she now plans to move on with her life, with her new husband – whose two children she hopes to adopt.
She promised to continue to fight for trans rights, to ensure that the same thing does not happen to others in her situation.