Georgia judge refuses to change transgender man's name

A transgender man seeking to have his name changed from "Rebeccah Elizabeth" to "Rowan Elijah" has been turned down by a Georgia judge, who claims it is misleading and potentially dangerous for a person to shift from a female name to a male name and vice versa.

Attorneys for Rowan Feldhaus this week filed a brief with the Georgia Court of Appeals saying that Superior Court Judge J. David Roper had overstepped his authority and violated Feldhaus's constitutional rights by refusing to let him go by the middle name of "Elijah."

Feldhaus, 24 of Grovetown, was born female but identifies as male. He filed a petition to change his name in July 2015. Roper turned it down in February, but news of the decision began circulating this week when Feldhaus' appeal was filed.

Feldhaus is a sergeant with the Army Reserve and a student at Augusta University.

When the court heard his petition, Feldhaus provided the necessary paperwork as well as an affidavit from his therapist confirming he’s transgender and that a name change is important to his treatment for gender dysphoria.

Judge Roper denied his petition, stating he wouldn’t grant the change because the middle name Feldhaus chose, Elijah, was not gender-neutral. He said he “do[es] not approve of changing names from male to female – male names to obvious female names, and vice versa.”

He said doing so is misleading and dangerous in some circumstances.

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