School: Transgender student’s birth name will be read at graduation

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Red Lion Area School District says a transgender student can wear a black cap and gown for graduation, the colors worn by male students, but his birth name will be read in the ceremony. Last month, FOX43 News brought you the story of Isaak Wolfe, who was born Sierra Liberty Stambaugh, who wanted to run for prom king. When the school refused and entered Isaak in the running for prom queen, under his female birth name, he went public with his story and enlisted the help of the ACLU. Isaak and his date were allowed to attend prom, but not be in the running for prom king.

“I am really disappointed that the school district doesn’t want to do anything to protect transgender students,” said Wolfe, a senior at Red Lion Area High School. “I want to make sure that future transgender students are not humiliated and disrespected the way I was.”

Wolfe has gone by Isaak since the summer before his junior year of high school, and his family, friends and most of his teachers call him by that name. Wolfe, who just turned 18 a few weeks ago, plans to legally change his name but that process, which involves a court hearing, cannot be completed in time for graduation next month.

“There is absolutely no legitimate reason for the school to refuse to read Isaak’s male name at graduation,” said Reggie Shuford, 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 Isaak and his family.”

Wolfe plans to take his case to the RLASD school board at their next meeting on Thursday, May 16.


  • Whatever

    Your legal name should be read at graduation and you should have to wear the color cap/gown that goes with your current gender. Not that big of a deal…..

  • Bev

    Name could have been changed years ago, this is the responsibility of the parents by Pennsylvania Law, not the school district's responsibility. I'm sad for the student in one respect, because parents should not push their responsibility onto the school district and then, claim it was the school district's fault they didn't change the their child's name.

  • Teri

    I think this is just another form of bullying by the school district. YOU must think the way THEY do, because we all know they are always right. Shame on them. If he, his parents, and family are fine with "Isaak", its what he needs to be identified as. He is the one who worked hard to get to the point of graduating, and I'm sure he had many a hard time as he was doing it. If legally required, it could be written in his legal name, but why must you call him that way?

    • tsshopping

      They are ok with it now but later who can say…this is not bullying this is what is legal. If THEY are all ok with it, why didn't the parents can the name months ago…this is not a school issue!

  • Cara

    So they are reading her actual name. Big deal. So the school district recognizes her as a female because in fact she is. Good for them. So tired of people who want to change who they were born as forcing the rest of us to play their perverted game.

    • Angry Boy

      NO. HE is a MALE you intolerant bitch. Transsexuality is not a "perverted game". I wish you knew how miserable it is to be trapped in the wrong body.

  • So dumb

    Get over it….you were born a female and still have female parts! Have your legal name read and wear the colors that represent a female graduate. Why is this such a big deal?!?!

  • Michael

    And you people wonder why the rest of America makes fun of Central PA as the "Alabama of the North"?

  • mike baublitz

    well as she is a female that is the name that should be read. kinda a no brainer. just cuz you wanna dress a male, walk a male, try and talk a male, dont make you a male. the school is right and this lil girl is wrong. get over it ppl

  • Pattie Crider

    Just graduate and get on with college. Name change in PA is cheap and easy. Start college as Isaak…a fresh start, with a new name. Best Wishes!

  • anthony

    When I graduated back in the late 70's one could only imagine the press and comments to this story back then. This is a totally new world we live in now. Personally I wish this person all the happiness in the universe. Couldn't there be a compromise? Couldn't the name be announced as Isaak Seirra or Seirra Isaak? I mean what is the real issue here? Is this about one person by name or is this a pressure point to make a name for ones self?

  • anthony

    Just to add a foot note to my last comment. I can tell you it really pi$$es me off to no end when some one asks me if my name is spelled Tony or Toni. Mt reply to that is "what the hell do you think" and I let it go at that.

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