A trans man who stood up to a Georgia judge to get his name changed has died.
Rowan Feldhaus, 25, died yesterday (16 May) due to complications during a surgery. He was an army reservist and a student.
Jonathan Adams, spokesperson for Lambda Legal, said he didn’t know which surgery Feldhaus underwent.
‘Our hearts are heavy at the tragic loss of a courageous young man who fought for the right to determine his own name and destiny,’ said Beth Littrell, an attorney with Lambda Legal who represented Feldhaus.
‘Rowan’s grace, quiet dignity, strength and self-assurance were an inspiration to me and many others who heard his story.’
Some media outlets have gone into great detail about the procedure they say was part of Feldhaus’s gender confirmation; we are not going to repeat them, as we believe it would be insensitive to do so.
He made history together with Andrew Baumert, another trans man, by standing up to the courts in the US State of Georgia.
Feldhaus started the process to change his name in July 2015 and provided all necessary information at a February 2016 hearing.
Superior Court Judge Justice David Roper said changing Feldhaus’ name might offend the ‘sensibilities and mores’ of people in Georgia and, a month later, rejected the change.
Roper also refused Baumert’s name change.
Feldhaus and Baumert wanted to legally change their names, but were struck down by Justice Roper in July 2016.
Roper told the men they should choose gender-neutral names so they would not confuse anyone.
When they requested the name change, the judge originally said he thought the men wanted to commit fraud.
But in March this year, Feldhaus and Baumert were granted their desired name changes as the Georgia Court of Appeals ruled in their favor.
‘After having been discriminated against by a judge who refused to allow him to change his name because he was transgender, Rowan wanted to make sure that no other transgender person was similarly insulted and objectified,’ Littrell said.
‘Because Rowan stood up, Georgia judges are now required to allow people to change their names without bias.’
Feldhaus’ mother said even after death, her son will continue to help people – because he is an organ donor.