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Wednesday, November 16, 2005

I'm all woman, says sex-change Denise

Belfast Telegraph
By Ashleigh Wallace
15 November 2005

A transsexual from Larne is in the process of changing her birth certificate to prove to the courts in Northern Ireland that she is a "fully fledged woman".

Denise Martin was fined £30 at Larne Magistrate's Court in September on a charge of breaching the peace.

The 44-year-old, who started life as Douglas but who has been living as a woman for 27 years, said she feels she has been treated unfairly by the judicial system.

The charge relates to an incident with a transvestite which took place in Larne earlier this year.

Denise admits the pair became involved in a verbal spat but denied lifting the transvestite's skirt - a charge for which she was fined £30 but which she vows she will not pay.

She appealed the outcome of the case but failed to appear at an appeal hearing which was held in Ballymena last week.

She is currently filling out a form sent from England which will allow her to change her birth certificate from male to female.

Denise says she wants this document before the next appeal hearing so she can prove to the judge that she is a woman.

Denise, who had her sex change operation in London 22 years ago, said: "I only knew I was being taken to court about five months after it happened. "A policeman called to my door and asked me if Douglas Martin lived here."I said no but a few minutes later I heard a clunk and there was a summons lying under the letterbox.

"When my name was read out in court, they referred to me as Douglas but I've been living as Denise for 27 years.

Neither Denise nor the injured party attended the court hearing.

She said: "I never touched him and for him to say I tried to touch his genitals is wrong.

"I didn't go to court because I felt it was so unjust I had to go to court for something so trivial.

"I am not going to pay this fine but if they send me to jail, are they going to recognise me as a woman, because that is what I am - a fully-fledged woman."

awallace@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

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