ACLU To Fight For Transgender OKC Woman Denied Name Change

Friday, September 28th 2012, 6:49 pm

The ACLU is now taking up the case of a transgender individual who is being denied a name change. An Oklahoma County judge says she can't legally change her name from the male one she was given at birth, to a female one.

Judge Bill Graves denied James Dean Ingram's request to legally change her name to Angela Renee Ingram.

According to the ACLU, requests for a name change in cases like this are usually approved, except when it comes to this one judge.

"She was devastated. She reported even feeling like she wanted to take her own life because of the way she was treated," said Brady Henderson, legal director with the American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma.

Ingram was born a male, but identifies herself and dresses as a woman. She takes female hormones, but hasn't undergone gender reassignment surgery. According to the ACLU Graves told Ingram he denied her request because this was about God's will.

"What we do see here is evidence of an imposition of a personal idea of what gender is supposed to be," said Henderson.

Graves said he can't comment on the case, but provided News 9 with an order he made in a similar case where he denied a Steven Charles Harvey's request to change his name to Christie Ann Harvey.

Graves ruled: "The DNA code shows God meant for them to stay male and female…To grant a name change in this case would be to assist that which is fraudulent."

But the ACLU argues that is unconstitutional.

"The fact is we have a choice over what our names are and what the names of our children are and in this case we feel that Angela was denied that choice unfairly," said Henderson.

Now that the case is being appealed, the matter will be decided by the Oklahoma Supreme Court or sent to Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals for a decision. It is likely that the appeal may take several months to be decided.