Transgendered Widow Battles for Benefits

Angry parents say son was upset he was 'tricked'
By Jane Yager,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 21, 2010 3:50 AM CDT
Thomas Araguz died fighting a fire on July 4.   (Shutter Stock)

(Newser) – Nikki Araguz lost her firefighter husband, Thomas, in the line of duty two weeks ago, and now she could lose his benefits—because she was born male. The Texas widow faces a lawsuit from her husband's parents, who charge that her transgender status makes her ineligible to receive benefits, and that all Thomas Araguz's benefits should instead go to his two sons from a previous marriage, ABC News reports.

In a lawsuit citing Texas laws against same-sex marriage, the parents claim Nikki withheld from her husband during their two-year marriage the fact that she had been born a man, and that when he found out he was distraught and separated from her. Nikki denies she and her husband were separated when he died, and her friends says her transgender status was well known to friends and family.

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