Principal Won’t Allow Transgender Student to Run for Prom King
A transgender teen from a central Pennsylvania high school says school officials won’t allow him run for prom king, the York (Pa.) Dispatch reports.
Issak Wolfe, a senior at Red Lion Area Senior High School in York County, Pa., was running for prom king but was upset to discover his the school listed him instead for prom queen.
"I’ve always known I was different. I knew I wasn’t like the other kids," Wolfe told the Dispatch. Wolfe, born Sierra Stambaugh, came out as transgender about three years ago. He added that his transition experience has been mostly positive, except for some teachers who "gave me negative feedback"; his friends and family have been supportive. Wolfe, 18, has not undergone surgery but plans to do so soon.
The student had been campaigning for prom king and even double-checked with the prom committee and advisers to make sure he would be listed on the ballot for prom king. But when the prom ballot was revealed, Wolfe was upset to see that he was listed under prom queen.
"For a transgendered person, it is degrading to have that, and I wasn’t even warned," he said. Wolfe was told that the school’s principal, Mark Shue, decided to switch him to prom queen. According to Wolfe’s father, William Stambaugh, Shue explained his decision was "based on tradition and he wasn’t comfortable putting Issak on the boys’ side of the list," the Dispatch writes.
"(Shue) said the king was always a male and the queen was always a female. And he feels that’s the way it should be," Stambaugh said. He added that he understands Shue’s reasoning but wishes "he made a more progressive decision." Wolfe echoed his father sentiments and said school officials are good people who made a poor choice. He adds, he would like an apology for the embarrassment. Wolfe has contacted the American Civil Liberties Union about the incident, however.
"I would like an apology, at a minimum," Issak told the newspaper. "I wasn’t given a fair opportunity. I mean, if I don’t win, I don’t win, but I’m not a queen."
A petition on Change.org has been created and urges school officials to put Wolfe’s name on the ballot and to read his correct name at graduation.