Isaak Wolfe, an 18-year-old transgender high school student from Red Lion, Pa., has been denied the right to use his assumed name in his graduation ceremony.
As the York Daily Record writes, “after an initial period when some people were confused and a few teachers ‘gave [him] negative feedback,’ ... most of his teachers and all his friends now call him Issak, and he's had a generally positive experience being a transgender student in a rural high school. He hasn't undergone surgery yet to complete the transformation, but plans on doing so soon.”
Isaak’s parents are fully supportive.
However, Wolfe has had gender issues with the school before: previously, the principal, Mark Shue, actually disallowed him to run for prom king, taking it upon himself to add Wolfe to the prom-queen ballot instead, under the student’s birth name, Sierra Stambaugh.
According to Issak and his father, William Stambaugh, “Shue explained his decision, telling them it was based on tradition and he wasn't comfortable putting Issak on the boys' side of the list,” notes the York Daily Record.
As far as graduation goes, Shue will apparently ‘allow’ Wolfe to wear the prescribed black attire attributed to male graduates in the ceremony, though the district plans on reading his birth name regardless.
"There is absolutely no legitimate reason for the school to refuse to read Issak's male name at graduation," says Reggie Shuford, who is the executive director of the ACLU of Pennsylvania. "Their failure to do so shows the same lack of sensitivity they exhibited during Isaak's attempt to run for prom king and knowingly mars what should be a happy occasion for Issak and his family."
Other followers of Wolfe’s cases are up in arms, to say the least. An online petition via Change.org has been running, gaining over 4000 supporters thus far, in the hopes of getting Wolfe back on the prom-king ballot and to have his chosen name read at his graduation. Unfortunately, voting for Prom Court has already come to a close, but Wolfe’s formal graduating name is still on the chopping block.