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Thousands demand high school not deadname trans student at graduation: ‘This is a blatant act of transphobia

Maggie Baska May 25, 2021
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Soren Tucker trans teen

Soren Tucker, a trans teen and senior high school student, wants his preferred name to be read aloud at his graduation ceremony from Alan C Pope High School in Marietta, Georgia. (Fox 5 Atlanta)

Thousands of people have demanded a school drop its cruel policy of deadnaming trans students at graduation after a senior’s request to have his name read out was denied.

Soren Tucker, a senior high school student, wants to have his name read correctly while walking across the stage at his graduation ceremony on Wednesday (26 May).

But according to a petition on Change.org, school administrators at Alan C Pope High School in Marietta, Georgia, refused Tucker’s request “outright”.

The petition, which has garnered over 18,000 signatures, said the school’s administration only allow “legal names” on diplomas and the call list for graduation – which it argues are separate entities. It added this means that “Soren and other transgender students will be publicly deadnamed as they walk across the stage to receive their diplomas, a moment they’ve waited for their whole lives”.

The petition said the move from school administrator is a “blatant act of transphobia“, and the “students of Pope High School do not and will not stand for hate, prejudice, and discrimination against their students”.

In an interview with Fox 5 Atlanta, Tucker said that using a person’s name is “very important” and “very personal” as it’s the “first step towards sort of affirming your identity” for many trans people.

He also pointed out the school has used his name in the past like in his school yearbook, playbills and award certificates.

The Cobb County School District told Fox 5 Atlanta that “for any student” and “all official school business” that schools must use “students’ legal names”.

The spokesperson added: “If any student or family changes a student’s legal name, we update that student’s official record which impacts, among other examples, their schedules, transcripts and diplomas.”

Tucker said he is in the process of legally changing his name, and he isn’t asking the school to change the name on his diploma. He told Fox 5 Atlanta that he just wanted his name announced when he walks across the stage.

“We are not asking for any sort of change on a legal document, it’s simply the call list,” Tucker said. “Which is just a piece of paper with names on it, we don’t even get our diplomas at the ceremony.”

 

Related topics: Trans

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