James Dean Ingram, a transgender who lives as a woman, requested to change his name to Angela Renee Ingram, however the request was denied by District Judge Bill Graves who claimed his request was “fraudulent.”
Judge Graves told The Oklahoman: “You’ll give me publicity that maybe I don’t want. 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.”
Ingram told The Oklahoman: “I wanted to give up and just die. Soon as I was out of the courtroom I collapsed and started to cry… never before have I wanted more to kill myself.”
Last year in a similar case, Judge Graves cited the bible and expert testimony, and concluded “the DNA code shows God meant for them to stay male and female.”
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The ACLU has appealed Ingram’s case to the Oklahoma Supreme Court. Ryan Kiesel, Executive Director of the ACLU of Oklahoma, told The Oklahoman: “Choice of a name, whether it be the choice of an individual seeking to change his or her own, or parents’ choice of what to name their newborn baby, is a right protected by the First Amendment. We the people, and not some government official, get to choose our names and those of our children.”
Under Oklahoma law, a judge can only deny a name change request if it is part of fraudulent or illegal activity. Judge Graves claims that allowing a transgender to change his or her name could hinder criminal investigations.