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Citing God and science, Oklahoma judge refuses transgender name changes

Monday, September 17, 2012
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An Oklahoma judge has repeatedly denied transgender women their petitions for a name change to reflect their female identity, ruling that the requests were made for a fraudulent purpose.

In two separate cases, Oklahoma County District Court Judge Bill Graves has denied the name change request, citing science, DNA, and God’s own desire “for them to stay male,” reported The Oklahoman.

In the most recent case on August 30, Graves denied a request by James Dean Ingram, 29, to change her name to Angela Renee Ingram, and reportedly told Ingram that “you can’t change what God gave you.”

Judge Bill Graves

Last year, Graves told 62-year-old Steven Charles Harvey — who was seeking to legally change to Christie Ann Harvey — that a person cannot really change his or her sex because the person’s DNA stays the same, and because “God created man in his own image.”

“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. 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,” the judge wrote in a seven-page order last year.

“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,” Graves wrote.

To grant a name change in this case would be to assist that which is fraudulent,” Graves wrote.

“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.”

Graves claimed that a ‘name-change’ would law cause enforcement problems as investigators would search for males based on DNA evidence instead of searching for female suspects.

The judge went on offering that (a) name change would circumvent prohibitions against same-sex marriage laws or could result in someone unwittingly marrying a person “who appeared to be of the opposite sex but was actually of the same sex.”

The Oklahoman noted that five other Oklahoma County judges who handle name change requests said that they routinely grant them in transgender cases.

Graves said he stands by his position. “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.”

In an email last Thursday, Ingram told The Oklahoman, “Soon as I was out of the courtroom I collapsed and started to cry … never before have I wanted more to kill myself.”

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