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Oklahoma County District Judge Bill Graves has chosen to instigate a private war against transgender people, denying name changes to two transgender women.  The judge has ruled that the requests were made for fraudulent purposes.

Graves refused a name change last year and repeated that action on August 30.  Angela Renee Ingram, 29, sought to have her name legally affirmed in August, paying a $155 filing fee for the right to use this name, but the judge claimed she was trying to commit fraud.  

I wanted to give up and just die.

It's so important because it is who I am.  I can't be who I am with a male name.


Ingram recalled that the judge said the name change request was fraudulent because “you can't change what God gave you.”

I tried to say, ‘I'm not trying to make you change my sex on my birth certificate.  I'm trying for a name change.'  He didn't really listen to that.  I was angry.  I was frustrated.


A similar decision from last year has been appealed.

His position also has generated criticism of him at the courthouse.

Five other Oklahoma County judges who handle name change requests told The Oklahoman they routinely grant them in transgender cases.

Graves does not.  He claims he has scientific reasons.  Not understanding that there is a difference between sex and gender, his reasoning is that no operation will change the DNA.

He claims to have sought the advice of a physician.  The physician in question was Republican State Representatiive Mike Ritze (Broken Arrow).

He summarized his understanding as follows:

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.

--From Graves' order last year, in Re: Harvey

His "scientific review" continued:
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.  And God blessed them, and God said unto them, be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth ...'  The DNA code shows God meant for them to stay male and female.

-- in Re: Harvey

In Re: Harvey, in the case of Christie Ann Harvey, 62, Graves actually gave three reasons for denial.

1.  It could result in someone "unwittingly marrying a person who appeared to be of the opposite sex but was actually of the same sex.”

2.  It could hinder criminal investigations.

3.  It could let someone circumvent the state's prohibitions against same-sex marriage. (See #1)

Interviewed by the Oklahoman, Graves had this to say:

You'll give me publicity that maybe I don't want.  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.

--Judge Graves

In Harvey's appeal, it is noted that petitioner has now completed gender reassignment surgery.
What an incredibly rewarding and fulfilling experience. I am truly the happiest I've ever been.


Harvey's attorneys point out that there was absolutely no evidence of fraudulent intent on Harvey's part.

Graves apparently believes that claiming to be a [transgender] woman is prima facie evidence of fraud.  The attorneys have argued that the judge abused his discretion, in violation of Harvey's rights to due process, equal protection, and the First Amendment.  Harvey "has been married to a woman for many years and she has been fully informed of" Harvey's petition and surgeries…as have Harvey's business and social acquaintances.

I'm assuming that somewhere there is going to be created a bureaucracy for the classification of names by sex.  After all, we can't have parents misclassifying their children.

Originally posted to TransAction on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 06:40 PM PDT.

Also republished by Street Prophets , LGBT Kos Community, and Community Spotlight.

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