A Georgia woman died Tuesday of complications from sex change surgery. Rebeccah "Rowan" Feldhaus, 25, had a hysterectomy and other procedures as part of her "transition" to the male sex.
The operation was successful, but Feldhaus returned to the hospital when she suffered complications, including septic shock, and she was later pronounced dead.
"Rowan knew the risks going in to all of this and he was willing to accept the risks to do what he knew he wanted to do," friend Austin Akins told a reporter.
Feldhaus was an Augusta University student and she sat on the board of the LGBT advocacy group Georgia Equality.
According to WRDW, Feldhaus began the complicated "transition" process around two years ago.
She petitioned the court last year to legally change her name from Rebeccah Elizabeth to Rowan Elijah, but a judge refused the request. His decision drew backlash from the Augusta LGBT community.
The judge previously denied a similar request from another local transgender woman who wanted to change her name.
"My policy has been that I will not change a name from an obvious female name to an obvious male name and vice versa," Judge David Roper had said.
A state court of appeals overruled Roper's decision and granted the women’s petitions to legally change their names.
"We were all very proud of Rowan for not accepting what was clearly a wrong and to fight for his own personal freedoms," Atkins said.
In his op-ed piece for The Wall Street Journal, Dr. Paul R. McHugh, the former psychiatrist-in-chief for Johns Hopkins Hospital, said sex change is “biologically impossible,” and that people who promote sexual reassignment surgery are collaborating with and promoting a mental disorder.