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Graduation Names and Equality

Georgia Hamann

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Names are important part of our identities. They say who we are and hold connotations for others who know us that define who we are when people think of us.

Seniors have been called to the guidance office recently to make sure their names are correct for the graduation ceremony in May. These are the names that will be on their diplomas and will be announced in front of the entire senior class and senior families when called onto stage. Yet, trans students in the school who go by names other than their birth names are being refused the use of their current names.

The school system explains that this refusal is so that names match the birth certificates that are on record in the system. It is for legal purposes so that they don’t make a mistake when handing out certificates. Nicknames are not allowed because they won’t match birth certificates.

However, trans students’ chosen names are not nicknames. These names are a part of their identity and the use of their birth names can cause discomfort, self-consciousness, and/or anxiety in some students.

The school system is already a difficult place to be trans (or any minority, really). The issues with school bathrooms, locker rooms, and pronoun misuse can create a discomforting environment for trans students. Trans students are already persecuted by peers and strangers and teachers. Why should we add to this?

A solution could be to allow trans students to request that their chosen/correct names be announced when they walk across stage, but their diplomas will still match their birth certificates. This way students who feel uncomfortable with this system can request their correct names to be used, and the school will still be able to conform with their legal requirements. We already have gender neutral graduation gowns. It shouldn’t be so hard to allow this change as well.

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The student news site of C. Milton Wright High School
Graduation Names and Equality