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Oklahoma appeals court orders name change in transgender case

The Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals ordered a name change in a transgender case to an applicant who had gender reassignment surgery last December to switch from a man to a woman.
by Nolan Clay Modified: November 20, 2012 at 10:09 pm •  Published: November 20, 2012

More than 16 months after asking for a name change, Steven Charles Harvey will be allowed to switch to Christie Ann Harvey.

Ruling in a transgender case, the Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals on Tuesday ordered a judge to grant the name change.

“It's a vindication ... It's who I am,” Harvey, 62, said of the new name. “When you're transgendered, you are born with your mind one way and your body another. And it's something that you always know.”

The appeals court ruled Oklahoma County District Judge Bill Graves was wrong to deny the name change last year.

“The trial court's finding that Harvey sought a name change for an illegal or fraudulent purpose is not supported by the evidence,” the appeals court wrote.

Harvey, who lives both in Oklahoma City and New Mexico, asked for the name change last year, before having gender reassignment surgery Dec. 1.

Graves, a former Republican legislator, denied the request.

The judge wrote that a person cannot actually change one's sex through surgery because the DNA stays the same.

“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.”

Judicial abuse

In a four-page opinion, the appeals court found the judge abused his discretion.

“Harvey contends there is no fraud in identifying oneself by a traditionally male or female name while having the DNA of the other sex. We agree,” the appeals court wrote.

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by Nolan Clay
Sr. Reporter
Nolan Clay was born in Oklahoma and has worked as a reporter for The Oklahoman since 1985. He covered the Oklahoma City bombing trials and witnessed bomber Tim McVeigh's execution. His investigative reports have brought down public officials,...
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