Judge Tells Trans Man To ‘Pick A Name I Can Live With’

Judge J. David Roper


Judge J. David Roper

Judge J. David Roper of the Augusta Judicial Circuit of Georgia has refused to allow a transgender man to change his name unless he chooses a gender neutral or unisex name.

Earlier this year Andrew Baumert filed a petition to have his name legally changed from his birth name to Andrew. Court records show that Andrew provided all of the relevant and correct documents necessary for the change, yet Judge J. David Roper denied the request less than 10 minutes into the hearing.

Roper stated his reason for denying the change as being that Andrew is too masculine a name, and that it may confusing or misleading to other people.  Whilst there are exceptions in which a court can deny a name change, such as a lengthy criminal record or if they believe that someone is trying to defraud creditors, but there is no legal standing to deny a petition based on the ground of gender dysphoria.

Court records have shown that Roper told Andrew that he would be fine allowing the name change if a gender neutral name was chosen.  He said, ‘I can live with Morgan, Shannon, Shaun and Jamie’.

Andrew has since approached civil rights organisations for assistance with this case and has gone on to describe the incident as ‘humiliating’ to the press.

‘It was humiliating and insulting to be told by the court that I would not be able to change my name legally when I’m already known as Andrew by my family, my friends and my community.  I work in labs all day, but it doesn’t take a scientist to know that the judge’s ruling was based on sexist opinions about ‘appropriate’ names.’

This is not the first time that Roper has denied a trans man’s petition to change his name legally, however, as in the past he has refused to allow a trans man to change his name to Rowan.  At the time Roper denied this change, which also met all of the legal requirements, on the grounds that he believed it could ‘offend the sensibilities and mores of a substantial portion of the citizens of this state.’


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Amy is a journalist and editor contributing the websites Planet Transgender, Gay News Network, The Bottle Episode, The Retro Box and Claire Channel. Amy is also a published comic book writer and letterer. In addition to her writing Amy has also worked with the Centre For Hate Crime Studies in Leicester and has worked in the capacity of an advisor to the United Nations Entity For Gender Equality and The Empowerment of Women.


  1. Unfortunately James, the judge is protected by legal privelege so he cant be sued. Depending on the state however the bar *may* be able to revoke his status as a judge, although I think that would require criminal behavior, and this isnt criminal, just appalingly bad judging.

  2. I cannot understand why a judge is needed to rule on name change applications at all. The legal criteria to be complied with are very cut & dried, not particularly onerous nor complicated. The procedure is straight forward enough that it could easily be processed by a service representative in the Dept. of Births, Deaths & Marriages (or equivalent public service sector) with a stat dec covering the questions that the judge asked Tori Browning (see her comment above).Also, I do not see any reason why GENDER should be required to be stated in the application and the entire process should be available online on a secure state government web site.
    Each state probably wouldn’t need so many judges that way and the first one that Georgia should shit can is that moron Roper!


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