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Nikki Araguz Loyd (June 4, 1975 – November 6, 2019) was an American marriage equality activist, author, and public speaker.[1]

Nikki Araguz Loyd
Casual Headshot of Nikki Araguz October 2011.jpg
Headshot of Nikki Araguz in October 2011
Born(1975-06-04)June 4, 1975
DiedNovember 6, 2019(2019-11-06) (aged 44)
NationalityAmerican
OccupationActivist, author, public speaker
Known forMarriage equality activism
Spouse(s)
  • Emilio Mata
    (m. 1995; div. 2007)
  • Thomas Trevino Araguz III
    (m. 2008; died 2010)
  • William Loyd (m. 2013)
WebsiteOfficial site

Work and marriagesEdit

Loyd's media background and several years in advertising led to publishing Wharton County Living magazine.

Loyd was married three times

  • Emilio Mata (m. 1995-div. 2007)[2]
  • Captain Thomas Trevino Araguz III (m. 2008-Dec. 2010)
  • William Loyd (m. 2013)

Nikki lived in Houston and as of 2013 was remarried to William Loyd, and with him ran an art gallery.

Death of second husband and legal fightEdit

Married on August 23, 2008, Nikki and Thomas Araguz lived in Wharton, Texas, with Thomas' two sons from a prior marriage. Thomas attended classes at Wharton County Junior College and earned certifications in the Police Academy, Fire Academy and was an EMT. Nikki worked as a Sales Executive and Sales Manager for a Houston GLBT magazine. Thomas served Wharton as a volunteer firefighter, and after marrying Nikki, became a Sheriff's Deputy and completed courses required for paid firefighters.

On July 3, 2010, Captain Araguz answered the call to fight a fire at an egg plant in Boling, Texas and went missing for several hours.[3] At the time of the fire Nikki was on a business trip and was not made aware he was missing. Nikki learned of Thomas' death from a posting on a social networking site by another fireman's wife. Upon her return to Wharton, Nikki's in-laws prevented her from seeing her stepchildren.

The morning after Thomas' burial, Nikki learned that two separate lawsuits had been filed by his family in an attempt to take away her benefits as a firefighter's spouse, though Thomas had specifically named her as beneficiary in one instance.[4] Thomas' family claimed that since Araguz was born male, she was not female at the time of her marriage to Thomas and that the marriage should be invalidated.[5] On May 26, 2011, State District Judge Randy Clapp ruled in favor of Thomas' family and nullified the marriage.[6]

Araguz's widow's benefits were withheld during litigation until a final outcome. She appealed unsuccessfully in court on November 14, 2011, hoping to have Judge Clapp's ruling overturned.[7] On January 25, 2012, Araguz pleaded guilty to stealing a Rolex watch from a woman and was sentenced to 50 days in jail.[8]

In February 2014, the 13th Texas Court of Appeals ruled that Araguz would get another chance to litigate the case in a state district courtroom.[9] Specifically, the appellate court voided the state district court judge's summary judgment in favor of Thomas Araguz's parents and ordered the case returned to the original courtroom for further litigation.[9]

In 2015, a state appeals court ruling by the 13th Texas Court of Appeals sent the case of Araguz back to the Wharton County judge who originally voided the marriage because Texas did not recognize same-sex marriage.[10] Later in 2015, a state district judge in Texas ruled that Araguz was legally married to Thomas Araguz at the time of his death in 2010.[11]

Later life and deathEdit

Nikki remained active in the fight for equality until her death, aged 44, at home in Humble, Texas on November 6, 2019.[12] Her husband William Loyd announced her death.[1]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b Nash, Tammye (Nov 7, 2019). Trans activist Nikki Araguz Loyd has died. Dallas Voice
  2. ^ Van Meter, William (August 6, 2011). Nikki Araguz vs. The State. Out
  3. ^ Delony, Doug (4 July 2010). "Firefighter Dies in Massive Egg Farm Fire". KRIV. Archived from the original on December 17, 2010. Retrieved 13 October 2011.
  4. ^ Van Meter, William (17 August 2011). "Nikki Araguz vs. The State". OUT Magazine. Retrieved 13 October 2011.
  5. ^ "Transgender Widow May Lose Her Deceased Husband's Benefits in Lawsuit Over Her Gender". 20 July 2010. Retrieved 19 June 2012.
  6. ^ "Texas judge voids transgender widow's marriage". 31 May 2011. Retrieved 19 June 2012.
  7. ^ "Wharton Widow Araguz waits for ruling on appeal". 16 Nov 2011. Retrieved 19 June 2012.
  8. ^ "Transgender widow to spend 50 days in jail after pleading guilty to felony theft charge". 25 Jan 2012. Retrieved 19 June 2012.
  9. ^ a b "Texas court revives transgender marriage case - San Antonio Express-News". Mysanantonio.com. 2014-02-13. Retrieved 2015-10-27.
  10. ^ "Court sides with transgender widow in fight over firefighter's estate". abc13.com. Retrieved 2015-10-27.
  11. ^ "More than five years after firefighter's death, transgender widow to get his death benefits". Gay Star News. Retrieved 2015-11-24.
  12. ^ Gill, Julian (November 7, 2019). "Nikki Araguz Loyd, champion of transgender rights in Texas, dies at age 44". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved November 9, 2019.