Supreme Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division. M.T., Plaintiff V. J.T., Defendant

Essay by pogostikUniversity, Bachelor's August 2005

download word file, 3 pages 0.0

Downloaded 29 times

This case was submitted October 14, 1975 and decided on March 22, 1976. It originates with a wife filing a simple complaint for support from her husband. The legal issue sharpened radically when the defendant alleged that M.T. was a male and that the marriage was void. Following a hearing the judge determined that the plaintiff was indeed a female and that the defendant was her husband. The Superior Court held that where a transsexual was born with physical characteristics of a male, but has successful reassignment surgery so that she became physically and psychologically unified and fully capable of sexual activity as a woman, such transsexual thereby became female for marital purposes. Therefore, the marriage was not void and absent of fraud. The defendant was ordered to pay the plaintiff $50 a week support. The defendant then filed a notice of appeal.

Dr. Ihlenfeld, the plaintiff's medical doctor with a specialty in gender identity, was accepted as an expert in the field of medicine and transsexualism.

He testified that for some reason transsexuals did not see themselves as members of the sex their anatomy indicated. "There was, however, 'very little disagreement' on the fact that gender identity generally is established 'very, very firmly, almost immediately, by the age of 3 to 4 years.'" Dr. Ihlenfeld also states that gender identity "pervades one's entire concept of one's place in life, of one's place in society and in point of fact the actual facts of the anatomy are really secondary." (M.T. v J.T.)

In response to this testimony the defendant called as an expert witness Dr. T., a medical doctor who was the defendant's adoptive father. Over the plaintiff's objections he was allowed to testify. Dr. T. held that sex was classified at birth according to sexual anatomy. He stated that...