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Transgender teen confronts school board over graduation - abc27 WHTM

Transgender teen confronts school board over graduation

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RED LION, Pa. (WHTM) -

"His name is Issak" read the stickers worn by supporters during Thursday night's school board meeting in Red Lion.

Those who turned out said they did so in hopes of putting a face to the name; a name that the school does not plan to announce at graduation.

Born Sierra Stambaugh, 18-year-old Issak Wolfe made the transition from female to male the summer before his junior year at Red Lion Area High School.

"I know a name means a lot, so I went with what would honor my parents the most," he said.

Wolfe, along with his supporters and a 2,000 person petition, pled for the school to announce his male name at the June 7 graduation ceremony.

"Reading my female name would only hurt me more," he said to the board.

Issak's mom, April, had reached out to the school prior to the meeting.

"It would mean a lot to his family if (they) would read his name at graduation," she said.

The district has said it will allow Wolfe to wear a black cap and gown for boys, as opposed to the yellow cap and gown mandated for girls, but it has told Wolfe that only legal names will be read at graduation.

You have a legal name," school board member Ben Pratt said. "You have a legal name that is on your diploma."

Wolfe said he is getting his name legally changed, but the process cannot be completed in time for graduation. It's a lengthy process that Mechanicsburg senior Caden, born Catelyn, knows all too well.

"In Pennsylvania, it's really hard and costs a lot of money," he said.

The ACLU, which is representing Wolfe, said that it's not about the diploma, but for Wolfe to be recognized for who he is: someone who wants to make a difference.

"I stood up for myself. I stood up for other students in the future, and that's what counts," he said.

The board commended the efforts of Wolfe and his supporters and say they will continue to deliberate privately over the possibility of reading his male name.

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