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.”
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.