The father of a trans teen has started a petition pleading that an Indiana high school read out his son’s preferred name, rather than his deadname, at graduation.
Homestead High School’s, Fort Wayne, administration insists on reading Wyatt’s deadname because of an ‘unwritten standard,’ Brian Thomas claimed.
However, over 11,000 people have rallied to support Wyatt by signing the petition started by his father.
Why are the school deadnaming?
His friends, family, teachers, and school mates all know high school senior as Wyatt.
But as graduation looms, Wyatt faces the being deadnames at his graduation ceremony.
As Thomas wrote in the petition hoping to change this: ‘What is meant to be a celebration will instead be yet another moment of humiliation and embarrassment.’
Thomas started the petition earlier this week (7 May) with a goal of 5,000 signatures.
As of today (10 May) supporters have smashed this goal with over 11,000 signatures so far.
The petition implores the administration to respect Wyatt’s identity and call him by his name. Wyatt has identified as such since the summer between his freshman and sophomore years.
‘Call him Wyatt’
Thomas wrote: ‘As Wyatt’s parents, we ask that our wishes be honored on behalf of our precious child.
‘Call the name he will bear legally once the lengthy process of a name change is complete. call him what his future university calls him, call him what we and many others call him every day.
‘Call him Wyatt.’
‘My brother deserves this’
Family, friends, and supports from far and wide have signed the petition. Wyatt’s brother, Ty Thomas, said he signed ‘because my brother deserves this.
‘He’s worked hard to find himself these past few years, and being called by his preferred name would be a symbolic culmination of his high school years.’
While fellow Fort Wayne local Jenna Shock said: ‘As a fellow mom of a trans teen in Fort Wayne, and a mental health provider, this is dangerous as well as disrespectful.’
What is deadnaming, and why is is harmful?
For many trans people, undergoing a name change can be an affirming step in transitioning their gender.
It can help trans folk and the people around them begin to see them as the gender they know themselves to be.
However, the transition can be a bumpy one. Changing names on government-issued identification and legal documents can be bureaucratically long, if not impossible, in certain patches of the world.
Moreover, people may, intentionally or not, refer to a trans person as the name they used before they transitioned. This is what’s referred to as ‘deadnaming,’ which can invalidate a trans person’s identity.