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19 July 2010

M. T. (193? - ) wife.

M. T. had always considered herself female, dressed as female from age 14, and had always dated men. In 1964 she met J.T. With his encouragement and finance she had surgery arranged by Dr Charles Ihlenfeld in 1971, and she had her New York birth Certificate revised. The next year, M.T and J.T married in New York State and lived in Hackensack.

Two years later he left, and she filed for support. J.T. replied that M.T “was a male and that their marriage was void”.   The trial judge determined that plaintiff was a female and that defendant was her husband, and there being no fraud, ordered defendant to pay plaintiff $50-a-week support.

At the appeal in 1976, the plaintiff produced Dr Ihlenfeld, Charles Annicillo from the Johns Hopkins Gender Identity Clinic and psychologist Dr Richard Samuels explained to the court about transsexualism, and that M.T. was now no longer male.   The defense called the adoptive father of J.T. , a medical doctor, who argued that his daughter-in-law was not a woman in that she did not have or had a uterus and ovaries.

The judges ruled that plaintiff was of the female psychic gender all her life and that her anatomical change through surgery required the conclusion that she was a female at the time of the marriage ceremony. They stated:
It is the opinion of the court that if the psychological choice of a person is medically sound, not a mere whim, and irreversible sex reassignment surgery has been performed, society has no right to prohibit the transsexual from leading a normal life. Are we to look upon this person as an exhibit in a circus side show? What harm has said person done to society? The entire area of transsexualism is repugnant to the nature of many persons within our society. However, this should not govern the legal acceptance of a fact.
They considered the English case of Corbett v. Corbett, but concluded that they could not join its reasoning.

They ruled in agreement with the lower court and M.T. was legally female.

Annicillo is spelt “Annicello” in the legal write-up of the case and in Joanne Meyerowitz’s book, but is spelt Annicillo  in Johns Hopkins sources.

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