The American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma on Thursday appealed a judge's refusal to let an Oklahoma City man planning on a sex change to have a feminine name.
The ACLU filed the appeal at the Oklahoma Supreme Court.
Oklahoma County District Judge Bill Graves on Aug. 30 refused to let James Dean Ingram, 29, of Oklahoma City, have the name Angela Renee Ingram.
Ingram told the judge in a petition the reason for the name change request was “transition from male to female.” Ingram said the judge stated, “You can't change what God gave you.”
Ingram wants to have sex-change surgery. Ingram already dresses in women's clothes, has a purse, is seeing a therapist and is taking hormones.
“A person's name is a fundamental part of their identity, and it is indefensible for a judge to rob someone of their legal right choose their own name,” said Ryan Kiesel, executive director of the ACLU of Oklahoma. “Judge Graves' persistent imposition of his own value system in place of the law and his denial of our client's right to have the name of her choice is an injustice we are determined to right.”
Three advocacy groups, Oklahomans for Equality, Cimarron Alliance and The Equality Network, issued a news release Thursday strongly supporting the appeal.
They claimed the judge relied on erroneous medical information to justify his decision.
“Current medical research confirms that transgender individuals suffer from gender dysphoria, which is due to a random genetic variation that ... affects the way the gender centers of the brain develop in utero. In other words, there are people born with male bodies and female brains and vice versa,” the groups said in their news release.
The judge has twice denied name changes in cases where the petitioner was planning to have sex-change surgery. His first denial — in 2011 — is being considered by the Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals.
In his order in the 2011 case, the judge quoted Genesis at length.
The judge told The Oklahoman, “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.”
He denied both requests because he found they were made for a fraudulent purpose.