Mother to walk, receive diploma for local transgender man who passed away

(WRDW)
Published: Dec. 4, 2017 at 1:48 PM EST
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Monday, Dec. 4, 2017

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- A local transgender man will graduate from Augusta University posthumously and his mother will take his place in the ceremony.

Melissa Feldhaus will walk for her son, Rowan, who died earlier this year after complications from gender transition surgery.

Rowan, 25, who was born Rebeccah Elizabeth Feldhaus, fought to legally change his name to Rowan Elijah Feldhaus after Columbia County Judge David Roper denied the name change.

"[They say] you have facial hair, your voice is deep, you don't present anywhere like a female," Rowan told News 12 in an earlier interview, "You know, it's almost like they have to call a manager to verify that I am who I am. I don't want to have to put my trans status out there because it shouldn't be an issue."

Rowan was in the final stages of transitioning into a man back in May when he suffered complications from surgery and went into septic shock days later. His family did not expect him to survive.

Melissa Feldhaus told News 12 back in May that Rowan would continue to help people after his death since he was an organ donor.

The graduation ceremony will take place Friday, Dec. 15 at the James Brown Arena.