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Former French Quarter Body Piercing Pro at Center of FTM Divorce Case

by Ashley Rouen

The former owner of a famed French Quarter body piercing shop is at the center of a legal battle after claiming her husband is not a man. According to court documents, Elayne Angel, former owner of Decatur Street's Rings of Desire, claims that her marriage to the transgender female-to-male (FTM) porn star Buck Angel never legally happened due to his lack of a phallus. 


Buck and Elayne married in New Orleans, where same-sex marriage is illegal, on November 17, 2003. The couple relocated to Mexico post-Katrina and never returned to the city. Buck is asking for $2000 a month in spousal support and claims Elayne moved half a million dollars out of their joint account.


Buck has recorded videos for Dan Savage’s project, “It Get’s Better.” He was the winner of the “Transsexual Performer of the Year” at the Adult Video News Awards and continues to travel the country spreading a positive message on gender identity.


During an interview with Patrick Abboud, Buck says his goal is to change the world.


“I want to make people think about what that means," he says. "To be a man. And a woman. And a straight person. And a gay person. And understand that it doesn’t exist. I want to deprogram people from thinking they have to be this way. That’s my ultimate goal.”


Elayne stars beside Buck in Mr. Angel, a documentary by Dan Hunt that shows their lives over a period of six years. In the film, Elayne, who has been instrumental in passing body piercing legislation in Louisiana, speaks in support of her husband’s transition.


“When I tell Buck that he is the man of my dreams he knows that I mean it,” she says.


From the waist up Buck appears male, but he is a man without a penis, or as he puts it, “A man with a pussy.”


He endured everything it takes to transition from FTM, including taking testosterone (T), having his breasts removed (top surgery) and altering his overall appearance to male. 


But ultimately, he chose to keep his vagina after doing extensive research on phalloplasty (bottom surgery). The procedure involves lengthening the urethra and installing a prosthetic penile organ.


In order to change his gender on his birth certificate, Buck had to file suit against the Department of Health and Hospitals, at which point he was able to submit to the judge a letter from his doctor, confirming his completion of sexual reassignment.


As stated in Louisiana Statute Section 40:62, to change one’s gender assigned at birth, the court requires proof that the person is properly diagnosed as transsexual, had sex reassignment surgery, and as a result, the anatomical structure of the person no longer matches the sex found on the birth certificate.


It does not specify what constitutes sex reassignment surgery.


In court documents, Buck's estranged wife Elayne argues that since he never had the phalloplasty, the marriage should not have been recognized in a state where same-sex marriage is illegal.


In a decision that could influence Buck Angel's case, an East Baton Rouge Parish family court judge upheld the marriage of a trans-woman to a cisgendered man, who sought to nullify their Nevada marriage when they moved.  


In Carter v. Carter (2002), the court concluded:

“It would be unreasonable for this court to treat Jody as a male, when all other official documentation such as her birth certificate, her driver’s license or her passport reflect differently—that she is a female. Therefore, if the Legislature is willing to change the sex on an individual’s original birth certificate when that individual has had sex reassignment surgery, then the Legislature has deemed that individual person to be a member of the post-operative sex for all legal purposes, including for marriage purposes.”


On his Facebook page, Buck Angel posted the following after news of the case became public via TMZ.


"It saddens me that my partner of 11 years would stoop to this level," he said. "I have also realized that this is not just about me but about our fight in the LGBTQ community to have the right to marry. Apparently it's not just that she doesn't acknowledge me as a man, she also believes that two people with vaginas should not have the right to marry."

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