Pa. school still refuses to announce transgender grad by his chosen name

Issak Wolfe

Issak Wolfe

RED LION, Pa. — A transgender student in central Pennsylvania is continuing his fight to be announced by his male name at graduation next month.

Eighteen-year-old Issak Wolfe and more than 50 supporters wearing stickers saying “His name is Issak” attended Thursday night’s Red Lion Area School District (RLASD) board meeting.

Issak Wolfe

They brought with them a petition of 2,000 signatures urging the board to allow Wolfe to use his male name.

The school board listened to Wolfe’s prepared statement but did not make any decision and said they’ll continue discussions.

Wolfe will be allowed to wear a boy’s black graduation gown, but school officials say he will be announced by his female birth name as he walks across the stage.

RLASD’s treatment of its transgender students first became public last month after Wolfe was denied the chance to run for prom king when his principal placed his female birth name in the column for “prom queen,” despite repeated requests to be listed in accordance with his gender identity.

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On April 25, the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Pennsylvania sent a letter on behalf of Wolfe, asking that the school allow Wolfe to attend graduation wearing a black cap and gown for boys, as opposed to the yellow cap and gown mandated for girls, and have his male name read at the ceremony.

The school district has refused to change its policy regarding transgender candidates for prom court, and Board solicitor Benjamin Pratt said it has always been procedure to use students’ legal names.

The ALCU has previously threatened legal action against the school district if it refuses to meet its demands, including calling Wolfe by his chosen name at graduation.

In a similar incident, a transgender student at a Catholic high school in Albuquerque, N.M., says he is has been told he must wear female student gown at his graduation procession, or not walk at all.

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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