School Officials Refuse to Read Transgendered Boy's Name at High School Graduation (VIDEO)

Inspiring 33

It must be confusing enough to be born the wrong gender. But add to that that your school refuses to call you by your real name (as opposed to your legal name) and now you've got humiliation on top of confusion. That's what's happening to 18-year-old Issak Wolfe, a transgender student in Red Lion, Pennsylvania. Wolfe will be graduating from high school soon -- only he won't be graduating. His legal female name, Sierra Stambaugh, will. That is, if the school gets its way. But Issak is fighting to have his boy name read and had a petition of 2,000 supporters to help him out.

Isaak is in the process of changing his name legally, but since it hasn't been completed yet, the name he was born with, Sierra, has to be printed on his diploma. Issak and his parents are fine with that. But all of them really want his male name, what everyone in school knows him as, read at graduation. But the school is refusing, saying:

The position has always been to read the legal name. We don’t do nicknames or alternate names.

Issak feels he's being belittled and bullied, especially after he was a candidate for prom king, but the school used his legal name, Sierra, and put it on the ballot for prom queen!

C'mon now, school. Don't you know your students? Couldn't you see that this boy is a boy and goes by a boy's name and identifies as male? I find it hard to believe that if a Robert wanted to be listed as Bobby, the school would have such an issue. This is 2013, we all know about transgender kids. Cut them some slack, they are dealing with enough as it is.

I know a lot about how it feels to have name identity issues. Until I was 18, my legal name was my father's last name, and my first name was the name I was born with. However, I didn't go by either.

I went by my nickname, Kiri, and my stepfather's last name, as I didn't live with my father. I can't blame my school for being confused, and my mom should have done more to make my name legal when I was younger, but I hated it when some teachers insisted on calling me by my legal name. Which they couldn't even pronounce. It was like they were talking about someone else, and it was embarrassing in front of my friends. (These days, I don't care what you call me as long as you don't call me late for dinner!)

Issak did win one important battle though -- he's allowed to wear a boy's black graduation gown instead of a girl's yellow one.

Do you think he should have the name read that he wants? Do you have any name issues in your family?


Image via WGAL

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nonmember avatar KEL

Not everything is a bullying/discrimination issue. Every school graduation I have attended has read full/legal names. Not receiving special treatment is not the same thing as being bullied. This is a huge transition and he understood the legal name would be on the diploma why they would be surprised that that is the name to be read.

TheTr... TheTruthTeller

It's a shame, but the legal process isn't complete. You can't just put anything on a diploma.

ruby_... ruby_jewel_04

I can't even tell you how upset this makes me. they are still putting his legal name on the diploma. just call him by the name everyone he knows calls him! For Petes sake. 


Andi Dodd

i went to a tiny school with only 30 in my graduating class.  They read off all of our prefered names.  In my case I walked as Andi instead of Andrea

nonmember avatar Cass

I agree with the school that his legal name must be on the diploma. However, it's just ridiculous for schools to force students to walk to a name they may not like or identify with. Maybe require parental consent and/or a principal's consent to walk to a different name? "Swagmaster smith" would get rejected, but abbreviations, middle names, and special cases should be fine.

arade... aradenheimer84

Schools are obligated by laws. I understand that he wants his new name to be called and that most students call him by his name. I also understand that changing your name legally can b time consuming. Sometimes things in life we have no control over. I don't believe this is discrimitory considering they haven't stopped the use of the second name. I'm sure plenty of people wish they could use another name or nick name instead of their legal name. Hope things workout for him

LadyM... LadyMinni

Ok they are reading out his legal name according to school policy -which should not be changed for one student- but they're letting him wear the male graduation gown.... and you're still crying discrimination? This is policy. If they were discriminating, they would make him wear the yellow female gown. I'm not even sure that counts as discrimination, since he is legally a female still. They're making a concession, and you're still mad. Damn, people.

Jespren Jespren

Yet another example of special interest groups wanting SPECIAL rights not equal rights. EVERYONE'S legal name gets read, why should ONE student (surely there are many others who don't go by their legal names) get an excuse from the rule? This isn't discrimination, it's one confused girl wanting special rights that no one else gets.

Florence Blantz

I live in this area, and I can't tell you how sick I am of this story. It's her legal name. End of story. Does she not think of the other kids, who are not happy to be in the middle of a media circus? It's never too early to learn life isn't fair.

Caera Caera

A legal name is a legal name. I really don't see why this is a problem. If she wants to change her name to a boy's name LEGALLY, then the highschool will read the boy name.

What a stupid thing to be all upset about.

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