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Oklahoma judge refuses to let men planning sex-change operations have feminine names

Oklahoma County District Judge Bill Graves has denied names changes in two cases where a man was planning a sex-change operation and wanted a feminine name to go along with his new identity. The judge ruled the requests were made for fraudulent purpose.
by Nolan Clay Published: September 16, 2012

In the paperwork, Harvey's attorney told the judge “petitioner is in the process of undergoing sexual/gender change.” The 2011 petition stated Harvey lived in Oklahoma City.

In the appeal, Harvey's attorneys revealed that Harvey, since making the request last year, has “completed the surgical course” of the gender change.

Harvey and the attorneys declined to be interviewed for this story. On Facebook, Harvey wrote about living life now as a female “as my brain was wired at birth ... as I always should have been.”

“What an incredibly rewarding and fulfilling experience. I am truly the happiest I've ever been,” Harvey wrote.

Harvey's attorneys told the Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals the judge was wrong to reject the name change because there was no evidence Harvey had a fraudulent purpose. They also argued the judge abused his discretion and violated Harvey's due process, equal protection and First Amendment rights.

The attorneys revealed in the appeal that Harvey “has been married to a woman for many years and she has been fully informed of” Harvey's petition and surgeries. The attorneys also told the appeals court Harvey is a successful businessperson whose gender change has been embraced by those in Harvey's business and social circles.

In the second case, Ingram, 29, of Oklahoma City, stated the reason for the name change request was “transition from male to female.”

In an interview, Ingram told The Oklahoman about dressing in women's clothes full time for six years, about seeing a therapist to help in the transition, and about taking hormones that have produced obvious physical changes already.

Ingram owns a purse, has bras and already is known as Angela to friends. Ingram and boyfriend David Derek Crump said they cannot afford the sex-change surgery yet. They estimated it could cost $15,000 to $20,000. Ingram is currently unemployed.

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,” Ingram said Tuesday. “I was angry. I was frustrated.”

In an email 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.”

Ingram's boyfriend remembered the judge saying he might reconsider if Ingram got the surgery.

Providing the judge with an expert opinion was state Rep. Mike Ritze, R-Broken Arrow. The legislator also is a physician. The judge said Ritze was not paid for the opinion.

Ritze wrote a detailed affidavit for the judge about sex-change procedures.

“The DNA is not altered by any of the above procedures or hormonal treatment,” Ritze wrote. “Based on this scientific fact, it is my opinion that a person cannot change their sex or gender through sex change surgery.”

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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