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