16 posts in this topic

Posted

i happened to turn to ABC-TV tonite just in time to catch the news program 20/20's segment about a widow who's in a legal battle with her late husband's family. the widow is a transwoman who says he knew it from day one but loved her unconditionally. his family (and their lawyer) says he didn't have a clue and was devistated when he found out.

Nikki Araguz will probably lose all contact with her late husband's children, she'll probably lose any benefits that would have gone to a wife because as far as TX is concerned... she is a male, which in the eyes of TX law...made her marriage a same-sex marriage - illegal in TX. and so her marriage is considered null and void, which means she's not a widow and therefore entitled to nothing.

"This story just seems to represent such a tragedy for everyone involved. Unfortunately, this situation highlights many injustices faced by transgendered families in this country." -Masen Davis, executive director, Transgender Law Center, San Francisco

the video is not online yet, but you can read the story and catch a vid clip or two...

"Transgender Widow May Lose Her Deceased Husband's Benefits..."

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Posted

How can anyone say they had a same-sex marriage? This goes back to the issue that she couldn't conceive and that she was born physically male. Many women can't conceive and she is pyschologically female and had her anatomy corrected. Why is it so difficult for people to understand that?

Secondly, what is wrong with same-sex marriage? Marriage should be about love and commitment. Again, many women can't conceive so it isn't about procreation.

The wife obviously cares for her step-children so no one should be worried about their welfare. If there is a law that states the percentage amounts that must be set aside for their future then that is fine.

I hope this case will help in changing Texas's laws against transgender people, as well as, same-sex marriages.

Bonnie

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Posted

The story was a good example of transexploitation. They were given plenty of information as to the FACTS of the story, but they chose to edit the story for ratings effect (sensationalized). I have been following this story for months and can tell you the media has been doing an abyssmal job. This despite the numerous press briefings given by Nikki and her legal team. You can follow the story at Nikki's FaceBook page (Nikki Araguz). The one BIG question is whether this small county judge follow the law or let transphobia rule the day? Nikki has excellent legal representation and she will appeal if necessary. This case is VERY important as it can potentially affect ALL of us whether you're transitioned already or not.

The husband knew of course, but the media is focusing on the LIES being spun by the vindictive ex-wife.

As far as the insurance money goes... she can't lose it because she is specifically listed as the beneficiary. But that hasn't stopped the ex from freezing all Nikki's assetts, rendering her penniless. A few months ago I donated money to a fund to help pay Nikki's living expenses.

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Posted

"The story was a good example of transexploitation. They were given plenty of information as to the FACTS of the story, but they chose to edit the story for ratings effect (sensationalized)."

it's nice to know there's more to this story than what i saw on 20/20 a week ago...and what you've related, LMP, makes things look a lot better than it sounded. that's sorta disappointing about 20/20 'cause i always thought the show prided itself on the facts. i guess it's slid into the same cesspool as all the other programming.

" The husband knew of course, but the media is focusing on the LIES being spun by the vindictive ex-wife."

i think nikki's mother-in-law is also spinning a few lies, too.

-michael

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Posted

I'm not sure where to even start with this one. First, the obvious discrimination based on the fact that Mrs Araguz was transgender. It is outrageous that she is deemed "not entitled" to her husband's death benefits simply because she was transgender. There is no sense of compassion for this woman who lost her husband. Then they publish a mugshot in the newspaper article along with a link to another story where Mrs. Araguz is accused of theft.

While many will claim we already have the same protections as any other citizen, this story is a glaring example of how we do not.

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Posted

"While many will claim we already have the same protections as any other citizen, this story is a glaring example of how we do not." - Lori

Especially if you live in Texas.

I hate to sound like a broken record, but coming out of Texas, this does not surprise me. I never believed for one moment that Nikki Araguz would win her case. But I gotta give it to the reporter(s) for reporting this case and Araguz's theft case as they would report on any other woman.

In another light, while reading some of the comments attached to the article about Araguz losing her case, one individual wrote, "in the eyes of the law, they were just good buddies." Made me think that perhaps now days, people should just name their spouses as friends, then when the time comes for insurance companies to pay up... there would be no argument about whether marriages were legal or anything else.

After all...a spouse is supposed to be one's best friend. And last time I heard, a person can make anyone they so choose a beneficiary...

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Posted

There is a lot left out of this story. Where were they married? Obviously not it Texas. So any married GLBTs in Texas or any other state that does not allow or recognize same sex marriages should check into their insurance policies and make sure the beneficiary is Named and not left as Spouse. The family is fighting this because.... they don't think she will provide for the children or give them something. How old are the children and who do they live with?

The other thing that always bothers me is that here we have a couple who lived as man and wife, I would like to add "as a married couple" to include same sex, in every way but she can't have children, or as someone I know put it she doesn't have a womb. Therefore they cannot be seen as a "real" married couple since God, and it does come down to religion, does not make mistakes, which presumes that we know God's intentions.

Bonnie

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Posted

"Where were they married? Obviously not it Texas." -Bonnie

Nikki is listed on an ancestry information website as the spouse of Thomas Trevino Araguz, III. It appears that there are no records available on the site for marriages in Texas after 2002, but according to information from a U.S. Obitiuary Collection, the location of their marriage is listed as Needville, which is in Texas.

The last I heard, getting one's gender changed on things like a driver's license and other documents in Texas, depends on what county one resides in and what judge they may be lucky enough to get, but under no circumstances can a BC be notated, amended, or changed unless it's proved that a typographical error had been made. However, Nikki was born in California, and had she had her BC changed before Araguz's ex-wife somehow found it... perhaps none of this would have happened.

Nikki allegedly had SRS shortly after she and Araguz were married. But since they were married in 2008, it might not have made any difference ...according to info on wikipedia, Texas Family Code was amended in 2009 to allow a record of sex change to be acceptable for a marriage license - they were already married, but in 2011, a senate bill was introduced that would reverse that.

To further emphasize Texas' attitude about GLBT people, the Texas Republican Party's platform in 2010 equated homosexuals with [pedophiles], and expressed that neither should have any right to custody or adoption of minor children, nor should they be allowed visitation unless ordered by a court, and then such visits must be supervised.

Additionally, Texas is one of those states that will not recognize a marriage performed in another state, if in the eyes of Texas, that marriage is against their laws.

So far, the only thing some of Texas' laws have accomplished, is to allow a transwoman to marry a woman, or a transman to marry a man. Though we all know that such unions are "same-sex" marriages (gay and lesbian marriages), and appear to be such to everyone else, as far as Texas is concerned, in each scenario, they are legal marriages because one is male, and one is female.

"How old are the children and who do they live with?" -Bonnie

I haven't been able to find anything on their ages. Since I can find no marriage/divorce information after 2002 for Texas, it appears that Thomas might have married and divorced between 2002 and 2008. If he and his ex-wife played the traditional game, the two boys produced by that union could possibly be no older than 9 or 10, but no younger than 3.

From a paragraph on one of Nikki's webpages, it sounds as if the biological mother might have custody.

"The family is fighting this because.... they don't think she will provide for the children or give them something." -Bonnie

I think the Araguz family and the ex-wife are primarily indicating that Nikki has no right to anything because technically, her and Thomas' marriage was illegal from the start. It's likely that at least the ex-wife could also argue that Nikki, whether male or female, is unfit to be a parent or guardian to Araguz' two sons because of past issues with drugs, alcohol, bad check writing... and more recently, a theft charge.

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Posted

Yep, Texas

“In Houston, transgender widow Nikki Araguz has appealed a district judge’s ruling denying her death benefits from her late husband, Thomas Araguz III, a volunteer firefighter who was killed in the line of duty in 2010.

The judge, Randy Clapp, granted summary judgment to Thomas Araguz’s family, which filed a lawsuit alleging the couple’s 2008 marriage is void because Nikki Araguz was born male, and Texas law prohibits same-sex marriage.” - John Wright

Trans widow continued her fight

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Posted

“After Nikki Araguz, the transgendered widow at the center of a controversial lawsuit, was 40 minutes late to what was supposed to be her final appearance in criminal court Friday, a judge decided the Harris County Sheriff's Office will make sure she is not late for her next setting.”- Brian Rogers, HOUSTON CHRONICLE

Transgender widow jailed for tardiness

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Posted

“Araguz booking raises questions about Harris County jail’s treatment of transgender inmates”

Texas

“Araguz’s booking has raised questions about the Harris County’s treatment of transgender detainees. The Sheriff Department’s Public Information Inquiry System listed Araguz using her male birth name on Friday. They have since removed the name from the site’s searchable database but have retained the record, listing it under the department’s “special person number” (SPN) filing system. The SPN record includes Araguz’s birth name. The Sheriff’s office has not returned calls from Houstini asking why the department is not using Araguz’s legal name and if this is common practice.” – Dallas Voice

Questions about Harris County jail’s treatment of transgender

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Posted

Texas Transgender Widow Sues for Husband's Benefits

ABC News (blog)

Nikki Araguz, a transgender widow of a firefighter, is suing the City of Wharton, Texas for workers' compensation benefits that she was denied because she was born a man. Araguz, 36, legally changed her name in 1996 from Justin Graham Purdue...

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Posted

It's unfortunate that she's made it harder for herself. By not respecting the court, both in the social drinking case and in the tardiness, she turned them into victims. Victims take revenge when they can get it.

Since she also would be convicted of theft of a Rolex, of all things, she doesn't put her in my "good people" list, sorry. Settling the TX law will be the only benefit from this situation but only if it's settled responsibly.

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Posted

UPDATE --

Texas Appeals Court Rules in Favor of Trans Widow

BY Parker Marie Molloy | February 14 2014 3:50 PM ET

"After Thomas Araguz died in 2010 while fighting a fire, Nikki Araguz was given control of his estate, estimated at $600,000. Shortly after his death, Longoria and Delgado filed suit against Nikki Araguz, claiming that she wasn't legally married to Thomas, since Texas state law prohibits same-sex marriage. Longoria and Delgado later suggested that she had hidden her trans history from her husband." --advocate.com

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Posted

Great news! Been following this for a while.

:)

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