A judge in Georgia has denied a
transgender college student's request for a name change because it
might offend the “sensibilities and mores” of Georgians.
According to Project
Q Atlanta, 24-year-old Rowan Elijah Feldhaus, a student at
Augusta University, is appealing Columbia County Superior Court Judge
J. David Roper's decision.
Roper reportedly rejected Feldhaus'
middle name of Elijah, saying that it was not gender-neutral enough.
“I felt insulted and objectified to
be told by the court that I would not be able to have the name that
my family, my friends, and my co-workers all call me, based on sexist
opinions about ‘appropriate’ names,” Feldhaus said in a
statement. “It can be a scary situation when I show up for work or
the first day of class and my legal name does not match my public
presentation and my gender identity. I just want to change my name so
that it reflects who I am.”
At a hearing in February, Roper said
that it would be “dangerous” for a person not to know another
person's gender based on their name. The following month, he denied
Feldhaus' request, saying that he was concerned that it might offend
the “sensibilities and mores of a substantial portion of the
citizens of this state.”
Feldhaus is represented by Lambda
“Changing your name is time-consuming
and costly and should not be denied based on sexist notions or
transgender bias,” said
Beth Littrell, senior attorney in Lambda Legal's Atlanta office.