An Oklahoma judge is quoting passages from the Bible and using junk science to deny trans people the right to have their names officially changed.
One case goes back to 2011 where District Judge Bill Graves, of Oklahoma County, denied trans woman Christie Ann Harvey an official name change, saying that it was based on “fraudulent purposes” wherein he cited the Bible as proof for his assertions.
“A so-called sex-change surgery can make one appear to be the opposite sex, but in fact they are nothing more than an imitation of the opposite sex,” the judge wrote in a seven-page order last year.
“Here, petitioner has not even had the surgery by which his sex purports to be changed. Thus, based on the foregoing and the DNA evidence, a sex change cannot make a man a woman or a woman a man all of which, the Court finds is sufficient in and of itself to deny petitioner’s request for a name change,” Graves wrote.
“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.”
The judge also wrote about not wanting to be “complicit in legitimizing sex changes through changes of names.”
The judgment is currently on appeal.
The second more recent judgment involves Angela Renee Ingram, who wants to change her official gender markers as part of her gender transition, and was issued in August. Ingram has said the judgment has made her feel suicidal.
In the order, Judge Graves, 74, cited an affidavit submitted by Rep. Mike Ritze, (R-Broken Arrow), a legislator who is also a physician.
The lawmaker said that, “The DNA is not altered by any of the above procedures or hormonal treatment. Based on this scientific fact, it is my opinion that a person cannot change their sex or gender through sex change surgery.”
This opinion fails to account for a number of facts, not least of which is the reality that Ingram has been diagnosed with GID and is transitioning to improve her mental well-being.
Whatever Ritze’s or Graves’ opinions, it is a fact that a change of gender presentation to match gender identity is now medically accepted practice.
In his order, Graves also cites that Ingram has not in fact undergone sex change surgery. The cost of the surgery, if it is even medically warranted, could run to as much as $20,000 or more, a sum that is for many people like 29-year-old Ingram simply out of reach. Reassignment surgery should not therefore be used as a barrier to gender change recognition.
This isn’t the first time District Judge Bill Graves has broadcast his bias.
In 2008, he wrote a letter to the Oklahoma Bar Association against them adopting the American Bar Association’s nondiscrimination rules that would have prevented members of the judiciary from being part of groups that discriminate on grounds of sexual orientation.
In the letter, Graves reportedly wrote: “These policies are not based on laws enacted by Congress or the State Legislature, but on proposals of the liberal, pro-homosexual American Bar Association.”
He went on to say:
“‘Sexual orientation’ would protect pedophiles, polygamists and homosexuals who practice anal sodomy, defined in state law as ‘the detestable and abominable crime against nature.’”
Graves, who joined the judiciary in 2006, also said the move promotes the ”homosexual agenda which is to have homosexuality treated as normal and natural as heterosexuality. These are cultural, moral and political issues that should be reserved to the Legislative branch.”
He also cited junk science at the time, saying that there is evidence kids are harmed by gay parents — no mainstream studies have concurred with that opinion.
Graves, previously a lawmaker, was also among the first to push for an amendment to the Oklahoma Constitution banning same sex marriage.
Graves has said he stands by his rulings, telling The Oklahoman, “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.”
That Graves, unable to keep his religious bias out of his judicial arguments, should no longer be ruling in LGBT rights and affiliate cases should be self-evident.
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