Tomorrow (1 June) at Allen High School graduation in Texas, transgender senior student Jay Alfie will hear his chosen name be called. Up until Tuesday (29 May), however, he wasn’t sure if he would — or if he would hear his birth name instead.
18-year-old Alfie is from Cancun, Mexico. He moved to the US when he was 6 and came out as trans in his freshman year. Since then, he’s been going by his chosen name Jay.
Students, teachers, and staff all referred to him as Jay.
So when he asked a staffer if he could graduate with his chosen name, they said it wouldn’t be a problem. Then, in January, another staff member told Alfie he was misinformed.
‘I felt horrible,’ Alfie revealed to HuffPost. He added he was ‘dreading’ graduation.
‘I was afraid that people were going to talk badly about me or were going to see me differently if they saw me walk the stage not as the person they know but as a person that I left behind.’
A change of hearts and minds
Since Alfie wasn’t born an American citizen, his family had to file paperwork to legally change his name. His lawyer, however, wasn’t able to guarantee it would be done by graduation.
Then his sister started an online petition.
Finally, on Tuesday, the family received the news for which they had been anxiously waiting.
Allen Superintendent Scott Niven released this statement:
The Alfie family has been in the process of obtaining a legal name change for several months. Due to circumstances beyond the family’s control, the legal process will not be completed before graduation on June 1. Therefore, since the family has filed legal papers to change the name, the request to change the name at graduation will be honored.
There is evidence that the use of chosen names has a real impact on trans and non-binary people. Recently, a study revealed that trans youth called by their chosen names experience less depression and suicide ideation.